Dead X-Men #1

Issue Date: 
March 2024
Story Title: 
Earth Intruders

Steve Foxe (writer), Jonas Scharf, Bernard Chang & Vincenzo Carratu (artists), Frank Martin (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), Lucas Werneck (cover artist); Kevin Eastman & Paul Morris (Wolverine Wolverine Wolverine variant cover artist), Lucas Werneck (Virgin variant cover artist), Leirix (variant cover artist), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby


Brief Description: 

Cannonball, Frenzy, Dazzler, Prodigy and Jubilee arrive in an alternate timeline on their quest to find Moira MacTaggert. Instead, they encounter a demonic Illyana Rasputin who has turned this world into a hellscape. The five X-Men are pulled from the alternate reality and return to the island of Krakoa, currently held inside the White Hot Room. There, they are in communication with Askani, who is in No-Place X. The group discuss their mission with Askani, who asks them not to let her down, before sending them to another timeline, where they find themselves on a world destroyed. Unable to breathe, they don't notice a mysterious figure watching them, before they are rescued by Abigail Brand's group of X-Men, and taken aboard an Acanti, where the remains of Arakko exist as the X-Men's home. Abigail reveals what happened to this world, before the mutants find themselves under attack by the Technarchy – because they hold the last cache of Mysterium in the universe. The X-Men work alongside this reality's X-Men, but the Technarchy are powerful, and the mutants are overwhelmed – until the arrival of this world's Starjammers, led by Sunspot. During the battle, Warbird and Smasher of the Starjammers find and destroy Orbis Stellaris, who is responsible for this reality's downfall. The mysterious figure watching the X-Men reveals herself as Moira MacTaggert. Prodigy is able to obtain a full map of Moira's life, and the X-Men think they can stop the Dominion War before it happens. During the battle, some Mysterium is lodged in Prodigy's chest. The X-Men are pulled from this reality by Askani, leaving Brand to her fate, at the hands of Moira MacTaggert, who boasts that she always wins.

Full Summary: 

(Moira Engine III.9 timeline)
The Treehouse, New York City. It has been split in two, and the headquarters of the X-Men is in ruin. Suddenly, there is a surge of energy, and five figures drop down into this reality. It is burned. The sky is gray. 'Smells like fire and brimstone. Not good' remarks Joanna Cargill a.k.a. Frenzy. David Alleyne a.k.a. Prodigy reports that something is wrong, as he can't pick up anyone – let alone Moira. He and Frenzy stand with their teammates, Jubilation Lee a.k.a. Jubilee, Alison Blaire a.k.a. Dazzler and Sam Guthrie a.k.a. Cannnonball, who declares that he doesn't think it takes super-special psychic brain stuff to tell that this place has seen better days. 'On the plus side, at least you're not screaming and crying and trying to keep your skull in one piece?' Jubilee asks, before Frenzy tells everyone to be quiet, as something is coming. Dazzler then screams as bat-like demon swoop down towards the dead X-Men, each of whom wears a unique version of the black and gold X-Men costumes.

The X-Men have arrived in this reality one month after Illyana Rasputin ascended to the Lord of all Hells and razed the planet. 'Who dares tresspass in my realm?' the cloven-hooved demoness asks as she steps towards the X-Men. Prodigy then tells everyone 'She's not here. I can feel Magik's memory of killing her... and everyone else'. He looks concerned, and Jubilee announces that this timeline is toast. 'Pull us out! Pull us out!' Dazzler exclaims urgently, as energy crackles around the dead X-Men, and they are yanked away from this reality.

(The White Hot Room)
Atlantic Krakoa is currently held within the White Hot Room, and it's where the five dead X-Men suddenly rematerialize after being yanked from the alternate timeline. 'Rach cut that one close!' Dazzler remarks, while she and the others land in the Krakoan forest. 'We cut it close jumping twice in close succession. Even I'm winded' Frenzy declares. Cannonball lands on his stomach and looks up at his teammates: 'Right there with ya, Joanna. I'm all discombob- aww, come on now. I'm a good Southern boy' he exclaims, when suddenly, Rachel Summers a.k.a. Askani appears before them, as a face in a fiery blaze. 'You can't be showing up here as a burning bush. It just ain't right, Rachel!'

Rachel tells Sam that she works with what is handy, and explains that the flames are part of the psychic package. 'Besides, you should be grateful I can even manifest right now...' Rachel begins.

(No-Place X)
In reality, Rachel is in this non-reality, no-nowhere and no-when. Wearing a red armor, Rachel hovers cross-legged and informs the dead X-Men that it is taking all of her focus just to communicate at a speed they can all comprehend. 'The clock operates very differently in my neck of the woods' Rachel adds. She tells the X-Men that if they linger in these timelines they will draw unwanted attention, but yanking them in and out as fast as she did, is like dancing between seconds for her. 'Any longer and we would have been demon barbecue' Dazzler points out, adding that the Hellfire Gala already proved to her that she is not as immortal as she used to think she was. 'Don't want to test my limits again' she adds.

Prodigy tells Dazzler that they won't need to, because with everything Dazzler unlocked in his mind, he is getting faster and faster at detecting any signs of Moira – even if he is feeling every bit of the effort, too. He explains that all they need is one version of Moira who is not cybernetic and he can lift the information they need to get Xavier where he needs to go – Moira's own mental map of her past. Askani suggests that they all take a moment to catch their breath, but not much longer than that. She reminds the X-Men that Xavier entrusted her with assembling the right team for this mission. 'I had, oh, a few thousand mutants to choose from... and I picked the five of you' Askani jokes. She informs her team that Xavier has a plan to talk to Moira in her tenth life before her powers manifested, but that they need the exact date, time and location that happened.

'He can't trust anything Moira told him before her betrayal' Askani states, adding that Prodigy is their best bet at getting to the truth. 'So no pressure, but the fate of all existence ever is on our shoulders!' Askani exclaims. Cannonball tells her that they won't let her down, and instructs her to send them back in. Askani tells Cannonball that she appreciates his enthusiasm, and that she hates to say it, but they are running out of Moira Engine pathways, noting that Sinister only made so many of those monstrosities. 'If you don't find what we're searching for on the next jump... we might be $#%& out of luck!'

(Moira Engine II.4)
The X-Men jump into the next pathway, arriving fifteen years after the end of the Earth. Part of the planet can be seen as a separate chunk from what remains of the Earth. The landscape is in ruin. 'This is even worse than the... the last...' Dazzler begins, before the X-Men realize that they can't breathe. They begin to writhe in agony, 'Helpless – as usual!' someone calls out as a pink portal appears behind the X-Men and grabs then, dragging them into the portal. This does not go unnoticed by a peg-legged figure wearing a cloak and standing on one of the demolished rooftops nearby. 'Ach, what's this now?' the figure asks.

'Oh, sweet oxygen!' Jubilee exclaims as she and her teammates find themselves inside what appears to be temporary safety. 'Yes, courtesy of... the X-Men!' a voice exclaims, and the rescued X-Men look over to see this reality's Abigail Brand standing over them, aiming a weapon towards them. At her side are Blink, Random, Armor and Rootfire. 'Abigail Brand leading the X-Men? Oh, this is not a good future!' Jubilee remarks.

'Now explain why you look like some of our long-dead allies... before we have our ship belch you out into the cold expanse of space' Brand scowls. Indeed, the rescued X-Men are inside a facility built into Krakoa which now resides on the back of an Acanti, a whale-like alien that is now the final mutant refuge. 'We are your allies, Brand – more or less. But we've come from a different -' Frenzy starts, when suddenly, Prodigy drops to his knees and clutches his head in agony.

'The longer I'm in the dark, the itchier my trigger finger gets' the unimpressed Brand warns the new arrivals. 'Back off, G.I. Green' Jubilee snaps as she checks on Prodigy, explaining to Brand that he absorbs the knowledge and skills from anyone near him, and while he used to have a bunch of limits to keep his brain from melting out of his nose, he volunteered to have them removed for this mission. 'So he's reading my mind right now?' Brand asks. 'More or less' Prodigy replies as he gets to his feet, and announces that he knows what happened to Earth – that Brand got what she wanted all along – an intergalactic war! Prodigy reveals that it was Orbis Stellaris who was pulling the puppet strings that Brand thought she held tight, and the whole galaxy paid for her cockiness. He recounts the visions that he has seen – a wormhole strike on Krakoa vaporized the island before the precogs caught a glimpse of Orbis' plan, and all of Orchis, most of the Avengers and near enough to 92% of all life on the planet was snuffed out in the opening salvo. A simultaneous assault on Arakko happened too, just in case anyone got a notion for revenge. Storm was there. All that remained was a handful of surviving mutants scattered throughout the galaxy, with Abigail Brand humbled to find herself leading the team she accidentally manipulated to its downfall.

'That's about the sum of it. Other than the “humbled” part' Brand remarks, before Armor asks Prodigy if he is here to fix this. 'Hisako, we...' Prodigy begins, before Frenzy interrupts him: 'You know how paradoxes work. We can't reveal our mission. We shouldn't even be talking to you right now. But our clock is ticking fast. We need you to take us back to Earth'. Random laughs at this and notes that they were having a real swell time down there when they saved them. 'No one's left on Earth except scavengers. Besides, we're in the middle of a supply run. You're lucky we picked up your life-form read-' Blink starts, when suddenly, something shunts into the Acanti, knocking the mutants about. 'What was that?' Jubilee asks, adjusting her shades. 'The exact attention we were hoping to avoid' Rootfire responds as they tap a button on a console. They reveal that Orbis Stellaris wiped out Nimrod and the other artificial intelligences allied with Orchis, however A.I. was never limited to just Earth, and the Technarchy has filled the void.

'Oh, good, that's exactly what the party was missing, the freaking Phalanx. Aside from assimilating all life in existence, why are they chasing you? What are you hauling in this big space fish?' Dazzler asks. The Technarcy's ship blasts the Acanti and Krakoa once more, as Brand reveals that they are transporting the last cache of Mysterium in the universe!

Meanwhile, in lunar orbit, just outside range of the Technarchy artillery, inside a strange U.F.O. style spaceship, Orbis Stellaris states that he blames the World Farm, of course, deciding that his ascension would have taken place over a decade hence, if not for that rare misstep. He wonders if perhaps he should be more forgiving to himself though, as intergalactic conflict takes time. He speaks to the mutant Vulcan, who is held in some sort of stasis tube. Orbis Stellaris notes that once he gathers the remaining Mysterium, that frustratingly singular mutant metal, time is something he will possess in ample. 'Still, how amusing. Even I could not predict that it would be more difficult to collect chunks of ore... than it was to obtain a fragment of the M'Kraan Crystal, the very Nexus of Realities itself' Orbis Stellaris remarks as he looks over at the shard of the M'Kraan Crystal.

Back on the Acanti, in the remains of Krakoa, Brand's X-Men use space-helmets to enable them to breathe as the Technarchy launch their assault. 'Die on your feet, X-Men – and take as many of them with you as you can!' Brand calls out as she fires a weapon through the head of one of the aliens. The dead X-Men are also fitted with the space-helmets, and suddenly, Prodigy cries out in pain. 'Whoa, another brain freeze? Are you picking up these Techno-Organic goons?' Jubilee asks. Urgently, Prodigy exclaims 'No, it's her, Jubilee! Moira's here. She's close – and she's still human!' Dazzler asks if this is it, what they have been searching for, while Cannonball looks over to Brand's X-Men, who are struggling against the Technarchy, and tells his teammates 'Ah don't like these folks' odds without our help'. Frenzy helps Prodigy to stand up and reminds the others that they all knew the deal when they agreed to this mission.

Frenzy tells her teammates that nothing they do can change this timeline – the Moira they are after may be depowered, but there is a Moira clone in Sinister's “engine” somewhere out there – and when she dies, everything resets. Random fires blasts towards the Technarchy, while Armor knocks several of the aliens backwards. 'If Prodigy's right...we can still fix everything. So we've got to trust Brand's X-Men can handle themselves' Frenzy tells the others. The dead X-Men team begin to run as a jet appears overhead and begins to open fire on the Technarchy, gunning several of them down, as a voice can be heard: 'C'mon, Abby – you started the fun without us?' Brand doesn't respond, so the voice from the jet continues – it's Sunspot, who tells Brand that the Starjammers like to arrive fashionably late anyway. 'Mind if we break out the big guns?' Sunspot smiles. With him is an armor-less Juggernaut, Hepzibah, Mercury and Lockheed, who sits in the cpatain's chair and says something in an alien language.

'Roger that, Captain Lockheed' responds Warbird – Carol Danvers – who is in another part of the ship with a teenage boy with blond hair called Smasher. A moment later, as Cannonball, Frenzy, Dazzler, Prodigy and Jubilee rush across what has become the battlefield, the Technarchy ship is blown to pieces as Smasher collides with it. Prodigy cries out, shocked, as he realizes that Moira is headed towards them. 'Never... never absorbed a mind like hers before...' he utters as a crude vessel descends towards Krakoa.

At that moment, Warbird flies through space towards the U.F.O. like spaceship, and reports back to the Starjammer, informing them that she has found their lurker. She smashes through the spaceship, and finds Orbis Stellaris, who exclaims 'You cretin! This is a hermetically sealed chamber!' Warbird frowns and tells Orbis Stellaris that she is just the opening act anyway. 'See, there's a kid on my crew. His dad died when you blew up Earth. His mom fell fighting for the galaxy. But he inherited both of their powers...and her called dibs on smashing your little toy' Warbird announces, as Smasher flies into the ship and begins tearing up everything in sight, while Orbis looks on in shock.

Back on the remains of Krakoa, 'Clear a path for Prodigy t'get closer!' Cannonball calls out as he blasts above his teammates, telling them to take down as many of these junkheads as they can, because if Moira dies now, then this was all for nothing. Dazzler and Jubilee blast members of the Technarchy, while Jubilee asks 'What about if we die, ever think of that?' Suddenly, two of the X-Men are knocked backwards by falling debris from the ships overhead – and in the confusion, a piece of debris is lodged into Prodigy's chest. 'Oh, crap' Prodigy gasps, looking down at his chest. 'Been searching for this last piece for nigh on a decade, now' a figure on the crude vessel that recently landed calls out. Frenzy goes over to Prodigy and asks him how deep it penetrated, and whether his breathing is compromised. 'I – I don't know. It doesn't hurt like it should. Is... is that bad?' Prodigy asks. 'Figures I'd find it in the middle of a mutant melee. Some things never change' the cloaked figure remarks as they rush towards Prodigy.

'Oh no you don't! No hitting my teammates while they're down!' Cannonball calls out as he blasts upwards then swoops down and slams into the cloaked figure, causing an explosion which knocks the mysterious figure into the air – and when they land on the ground, their cloak has fallen backwards, and their identity is revealed – it's Moira MacTaggert – or what is left of her. One of her arms has been severed at the elbow. Metal or cybernetic components can be seen on her face and her other arm appears to be completely robotic. Prodigy looks anguished as this reality's Moira's memories fill his mind – he sees Moira and Xavier kissing, then Moira standing next to Pyro as he burns Destiny. He sees Magneto giving Moira his helmet, and Charles and Moira looking on as a Sentinel blasts Wolverine. 'Oh god. There's so much more than I expected' Prodigy gasps. 'What are ye?' a horrified Moira looks on.

Dazzler helps Prodigy up as Prodigy reports that he got it, a full map of Moira's past – all of it. 'And not just her tenth life...we can go anywhere. Anywhen'. Prodigy declares that they could stop the Dominion before it is born. 'Then let's get the hell out of dodge already!' Dazzler suggests as they X-Men begin to run from Moira. 'What about her?' Frenzy asks, turning back to Moira. 'If we got what we came for, then we better leave well enough alone!' Cannonball suggests as he blasts onwards. 'Don't wanna mess around with this stuff more than we already have' Cannonball points out, as energy then crackles around he and his teammates – and the vanish.

Moira wheezes as she runs over to where the X-Men vanished, and finds the shard that was lodged into Prodigy's chest. 'Ah, this'll do nicely' she remarks, when suddenly, 'Hey! Get away from that!' Abigail Brand snaps as she appears on a ridge overlooking the area where Moira is, and begins opening fire. Moira fights back, lunging at Brand and knocking her backwards. 'Wait – how are you still alive?' Brand asks. Moira holds up a large ax-like weapon and declares that she had to stay alive, to build this weapon. She announces that it is made from adamantium, carbonadium and vibranium, and has that Xorn fella's hackit-black-hole brain. 'And now the final piece. A wee shard of mysterium. The missing ingredient' she explains, having retrieved that mysterium shard. She grins wickedly as she boasts that she has everything she needs to cut a path back to her very first life and start over again – so she can make sure that Moira always wins....

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Dazzler, Frenzy, Jubilee, Prodigy IV (all X-Men)

(in Moira Engine III.9 timeline)
Illyana Rasputin, Lord of All Hells

(in Moira Engine II.4 timeline)
Armor, Blink, Abigail Brand, Random, Rootfire (all X-Men)
Hepzibah, Juggernaut, Lockheed, Mercury, Smasher, Sunspot, Warbird (all Starjammers)
Moira MacTaggert

Orbis Stellaris

(in Moira Engine 11.4 timeline flashback)
Orbis Stellaris

(in  Moira Engine 11.4 timeline memories)
Moira MacTaggert at various stages
Professor X
Destiny Pyro, Wolverine

Story Notes: 

The series spins out of Rise of the Powers of X.

Dazzler, Jubilee, Cannonball, Frenzy and Prodigy were elected to the X-Men alongside Synch, Talon and Juggernaut during the third Hellfire Gala of the Krakoan era. The five of them were killed by Nimrod when he gatecrashed the festivities. [X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023 #1]

Dazzler has been mysteriously resurrecting herself since New Excalibur #1-3, and many times since then.

This issue includes a transcript from No-Place between Charles Xavier and Rachel Summers, imprinted after the resurrection of the Dead X-Men. In the transcript, Rachel justifies her reasons for choosing the Dead X-Men, and Xavier expresses his urgency regarding needing to speak to Moira before her powers manifest.

This issue includes a checklist of the “Weapon M” components, in which it is revealed the carbonadium was harvested from Omega Red's coils, the adamantium was retrieved from one of Wolverine's corpses, Shen Xorn's head, vibranium from the remains of Gentle and mysterium.

Sam is disturbed by Rachel appearing as a burning bush, as he Christian and this is how God appeared to Moses in the Old Testament.

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