Fall of the House of X #2

Issue Date: 
April 2024
Story Title: 
Long Games End

Gerry Duggan (writer), Lucas Werneck (artist), Brian Valenza (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Travis Lanham (letterer), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), Pepe Larraz & Marte Gracia (cover artists), Carlos Gomez & Erick Arciniega (Farewell Krakoa variant cover artists), Giuseppe Camuncoli & Guru-eFX (Connecting variant cover artists), Pepe Larraz & Marte Gracia (virgin cover artists) Ben Harvey (Shadowkat variant cover artist), Emilio Laiso & Bryan Valenza (variant cover artists), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Dr. Stasis and M.O.D.O.K. are aboard the Bloom, gloating in their victory over mutantkind – when suddenly, Polaris slams the entire Celestial head called Knowhere into the Bloom, which begins to explode. Polaris then sets the Brood loose aboard the Bloom, where they begin to kill the Orchis agents. In an Orchis shuttle, several agents have captured Wolverine. They dock on the Bloom as it is in mid-destruction, which was Wolverine's plan all along, as he escapes his restraints, and along with Colossus and Nightcrawler take down the Orchis agents. Orchis agents from the Bloom try to escape in the shuttle, but it's too late, as the Brood hunt them down. Polaris rejoins her teammates as they set about to find Firestar and anyone else still aboard the Bloom before it is completely destroyed. Emma Frost maintains contact with the few active mutants, and sends Juggernaut to help Krakoa, who had been captured by Stark Sentinels. Gambit and Rogue are en route to give Juggernaut some assistance, before diverting on their own side-mission – to retrieve Manifold from the no-place where Rogue put him for safety at Desitny's instance. Manifold is in a dream-like state and sees Lactuca who tells him that the X-Men have succeeded in changing his destiny. Manifold then teleports himself, Rogue and Gambit away as one of the Stark Sentinels sets down on them. Back aboard the Bloom, Wolverine has found Dr. Stasis, but the madman manages to escape in one of the escape pods. M.O.D.O.K. then launches himself into space after shooting Wolverine. The Bloom begins to crash to Earth, where Polaris aims it to land in the Southern Ocean. She finds Wolverine and along with Colossus and Nightcrawler are safe, with the Brood transporting back to Knowhere, although no one was able to find Firestar. In Paris, Omega Sentinel is about to decapitate Cyclops when Alia Gregor hits her with an EMP. Cyclops is shocked to see who his saviour is, and as Nimrod frees himself from the Krakoan island, Alia asks Cyclops what he knows about Sentinel City.

Full Summary: 

The Bloom, space-HQ of Orchis, where Dr. Stasis sits in the command chair aboard the bridge, with M.O.D.O.K. floating at his side. Dr. Stasis remarks that it is wonderful that Feilong has abandoned ship to kill one man – Tony Stark – who built some fancy new suit for himself right under Feilong's nose. Dr. Stasis notes that the mutants have thrown some kind of space junk at the station, and boasts that they have a deflector array on the Bloom capable of pushing any hunk of metal out of the way, and instructs M.O.D.O.K. to make it so. The large floating head announces that the deflector array is working properly, but that the object is not deflecting. Dr. Stasis sighs, and asks one of the Orchis agents to put the troublesome object on screen. 'That does look irksome' Dr. Stasis mutters as the screen lights up, showing Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris, hovering in space, with the Celestial head known as Knowhere behind her.

'Oh my god!' one of the Orchis agents screams, while M.O.D.O.K. frowns and reports that Polaris' power and the mass of the Celestial will almost assuredly overwhelm the Bloom's shields. 'How long do we have?' Dr. Stasis asks, before the Bloom is rocked by a powerful pulse. Dr. Stasis declares that the fleet of Arakko hid Stark's Sentinel Buster armor, and so this space-faring skull must be the mutant reinforcements they eexpected. 'Kill every mutant you see!' he shouts. Knowhere has indeed crashed inot the Bloom, and multiple explosions begin to rage across the space station. NASA keeps a live view Earth orbit for classrooms around the world. The arrival of a giant decapitated Celestial skull caused a lot of anxiety, but the screaming really begins when the skull starts chewing on the Bloom.

'You could run, you know' Polaris suggests as she flies through the Bloom, avoiding fires with her magnetic force field. 'She's invulnerable!' one of the Orchis agents opens fire, but their bullets bounce off the force field. 'How observant – she is' Polaris responds, to which another agent suggests that Polaris will have to lower the force field when the mutants board. 'Load the Blightswill rounds!' they call out. Polaris smirks and then orders 'To me – my Brood!' Polaris is powerful, and could easily have destroyed the Orchis station, but risked losing the bulk of the fascist agents in escape pods. So she has crippled the station in orbit and has let the Brood off their leash, as they storm the station and begin to attack the Orchis agents. 'Switch out the anti-mutie rounds! Keep firing!' one of the agents calls out as they open fire.

'What did we learn today, gentlemen?' Polaris asks as she throws a magnetic field around herself and several of the Brood. 'That firing metal at the new master of magnetism has poor results' she tells them. One of the agents crawls along the floor in front of Polaris, clutching their wounds. Polaris drops down and lifts the agent's face towards her as she asks 'Where is the clone of Sinister? Where is Dr. Stasis? He and I have a date!' The Orchis agent reports that Dr. Stasis is aboard, that he just saw him run from the command deck.

At that moment, an Orchis shuttle can be seen outside the exploding station, and someone aboard the shuttle reports that they launched with prisoners before they were attacked. 'Do you copy?' the agent asks, before telling his fellow agents that there is no response, so they are on their own. Several other agents can be seen, with Logan a.k.a. Wolverine held prisoner in a large set of restraints. 'We could turn around, but I've never run from a fight, and those are pureblood humans under threat on that station' the agent declares. He turns to the others and tells them that it will be a hot landing zone on the Bloom, and that the X-Men threw some sort of haunted skull at them, not to mention there was a bioweapon inside. Wolverine begins to laugh, and the agent asks him if he thinks this is funny. 'Maybe we ought to just air-lock this runt that Bob found' the agent suggests, aiming a weapon at Wolverine. 'And miss out on cashing in the bounty Dr. Stasis put on him?' another of the agents asks. 'Sir, Bob is like – half a foot shorter than this guy who captured the Wolverine' a different agent reports.

The tall agent covered in the red Orchis armor looks down at the others and responds 'I am also a “Bob,” uh, bub'. Wolverine rolls his eyes and frowns: 'I toldja this wouldn't work' he mutters, before Piotr Rasputin a.k.a. Colossus drops his disguise, ripping the Orchis costume off of himself and reminds Wolverine that his plan was to kill his way onto the Bloom. 'Woulda worked!' Wolverine responds as he unsheathes his claws and frees himself from the restraints. 'But sneaking on and killing our way off his smarter' Colossus replies. Wolverine draws blood as he slashes his way through the Orchis agents and tells Colossus that he is finished sneaking, and finishing this the only way he knows how. Bullets bounce off of Colossus as he asks where Nightcrawler is. 'He teleported into the hold' Wolverine responds, when suddenly, Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler appears, teleporting in and rejoining his friends. 'But I'll be right back' he adds as he grabs one of the Orchis agents and teleports him out into open space.

When he teleports back into the shuttle, Nightcrawler offers to search for Firestar, and Wolverine remarks that he has a bad feeling about her, before stating that he and Colossus will search and destroy. Colossus notes that the shuttle has docked, and tells his friends to get behind him. From the flames ahead of the trio, more Orchis agents appear, and one of them tells the X-Men that they can board without a fight. 'We just want off this madhouse!' he calls out. 'I'm afraid you missed the last stop' Colossus responds, as several Brood appear and tear through the Orchis agents. 'Did I miss a meeting? We're deploying the Brood?' Colossus asks. Wolverine explains that they are under the control of Broo, and that he trusts him. 'They're only under control until they're not' Nightcrawler remarks.

Suddenly, Polaris appears, coffee in hand, she greets her teammates and tells them that the Brood were not part of the cute little battle plans drawn up in the Morlock Tunnels, but they are all improvising ever since the plan moved up. 'By the by, the Orchis coffee is $#&%' Lorna adds, before announcing that she is here to kill Firestar. 'What're you doing?' she asks. 'Great minds – but actually, Firestar has been a double agent for the entire time' Nightcrawler informs Polaris, explaining that Jean implanted memories into Stasis' head before she died. 'That is the most Jean thing I've ever heard' Polaris smiles, before offering to hold off destroying the station until Firestar and any other civilians are off. 'Then I'm going to drop-kick this whole thing into the sun' she announces, before asking who is saving Krakoa and Cyclops. 'One riot, one ranger' Colossus replies. 'Kate will bag Slim, and we sent -' Wolverine begins, before Colossus declares that they are stretched too thin. 'They're both in trouble – hell, we're all in trouble' Wolverine replies.

Meanwhile, Emma Frost has two Orchis agents on a leash as she telepathically announces 'Okay, darlings. The beautiful voice in your head is the White Queen. I'm in New York walking the dogs before we have to put them down'. She adds that now that the Bloom is being uprooted, they can talk about reinforcing their world. Emma reveals that Shadowkat is in Paris trying to back Cyclops up, while there are still some X-Men on the wrecked Orchis station. 'Do you need assistance, Logan?' Emma asks. 'Have I ever?' Wolverine responds as he shoves his claws through another Orchis operative. 'I was asking to be polite' Emma states, before revealing that in the western United States, their nation is on the run – literally. 'How goes the rescue of Krakoa?' Emma enquires.

Emma is also broadcasting on Iron Man's emergency frequency, and asks the Juggernaut to go ahead. 'Orchis already bagged our leafy friend – but it's nothing I can't handle' Cain Marko the Juggernaut announces as he leaps towards one of two Stark Sentinels who have captured the manifestation of Krakoa, who is trapped in a large net. 'Especially after I helped myself to one of Cable's guns!' Juggernaut exclaims as he lands on one of the large Sentinels, then turns to the other and blasts it with Cable's powerful weapon, knocking the Sentinel backwards. 'Let's go, buddy!' Juggernaut calls out as he drops down off the other Sentinel, and grabs the net restraining Krakoa. 'I got Krakoa, but we could use a lift' Juggernaut reports. Emma is suddenly confronted by one of her husband's deadly contraptions back in New York, and as the Stark Sentinel knocks her aside, Emma contacts Rogue, asking her to assist Juggernaut.

'This is all terrible. It's going to hell' Rogue remarks to her husband, Remy LeBeau a.k.a. Gambit as they streak through the sky in a jet. 'Sure it is, petit. But remember that secret Destiny definitely didn't want you telling me? Maybe now's the time to pull that rip cord?' Remy suggests. Rogue pauses, before telling her husband that she knew she kept him around for a reason. 'Let's do this' she declares, before leaping from the jet, and informing Emma that she is sending the jet back to her on autopilot, as she is going to need it to send someone else to help Krakoa. 'Remy and I have a mission' Rogue reports. Emma dodges a sudden ice-blast which covers the Stark Sentinel attacking her as she tells Rogue that this is not the time to break ranks. 'What could possibly be more important?' she asks. As the Sentinel is completely covered in ice, a voice calls out 'It's okay, Emma...if Rogue says that something must be done, then it must need doing'. Emma looks over to see Everett Thomas a.k.a. Synch and tells him that she is very glad to see him and Iceman's powers. Synch reports that they have Stasis trapped in Orbit, but need to neutralize more high-value targets, and asks where Moira and Devo are.

Meanwhile, Rogue and Gambit arrive at what once was Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. Rogue tells Gambit that she had to hide Manifold away – she isn't even sure why, but Destiny was positive mutants had no future without him. 'He's gonna be pissed, Ah'd think' Gambit replies. Rogue tells Gambit that she removed what the villain did to Manifold, and then put him into stasis, so only a few moments will have passed for him since she secreted him away – meaning he will definitely be mad. 'Putting him in stasis in a Krakoan no-place... it's like being deleted from the universe' Gambit explains. They locate Eden Fesi a.k.a. Manifold and remove him from a stasis capsule. 'If you killed him, maybe we can reboot the Brotherhood of Evil Mu-' Gambit begins, before Rogue shushes him. She revives Manifold and tells him that she knows he has a lot of questions, but asks him to trust her when she tells him that she had no other options. 'We saved you from the bad guys, but then we did something... not so nice' Rogue admits.

Manifold gasps, and utters 'My god – the stars are – I've been on ice for -' to which Gambit informs him that a lot has happened since he has been sleeping. 'You were a priority target of Orchis, and we hid you away because -' Rogue begins when suddenly, 'You kidnapped me! You buried me like a corpse outside time!' Manifold exclaims as he fires a blast of energy which knocks Gambit backwards. 'You're an X-Man, Rogue! You were supposed to be the best -' Manifold begins as he punches Rogue, before a look of shock falls across his face: 'Sorry, Sugah...' Rogue grins, wiping her lip, her face is broken, and Destiny's mask can be seen. '...but the future was unwritten without you, Manifold' Rogue tells him.

Manifold confesses to always being a bit cranky after waking. 'And now that I'm awake, I'm dreaming...isn't that right, Lactuca?' Manifold asks, as the Arakkii mutant removes the Destiny mask and greets her “little brother”. 'We're really in deep $#%& I suppose' Manifold remarks. Lactuca informs Manifold that these two mutants were sent by someone less adept than she or him, but who nonetheless has a crude knowing of the universe. 'They sought not to wrong you... but to protect you from a malevolence that would have ended you' Lactuca explains, before telling Manifold that these X-Men succeeded in changing his destiny, and that she will see him again, as she puts the broken Rogue mask back on her face.

'... so trust us – it was for yer own well-being. Is he... even listening to me?' Gambit asks. 'Does anyone?' Rogue turns to her husband, before asking him if he hears those jets. 'We have a Sentinel inbound' she reports. Manifold smiles and tells Rogue and Gambit that it is okay, that he understands what he must. 'We must go to where we're needed. And we're about to have a most unwelcome guest. I ask the universe... to deliver us now' Manifold calls out, energy crackling around him, before one of the Stark Sentinels slams a fist down where Rogue, Gambit and Manifold were standing.

Back in space, the Bloom continues to explode. Polaris has allowed escape pods to leave the doomed station. The X-Men may have a revolving door on their graves, but they were always handing out second chances to their enemies. 'You can't kill me, Logan!' Dr. Stasis calls out as he rushes down a corridor. 'If you do, you'll never see Firestar again!' Stasis exclaims, before quickly leaping into an escape pod. Stasis grins as Wolverine catches up to him. 'Ha ha! Go find something else to stab, you unctuous varmint!' Dr. Stasis forms an X symbol with his arms and laughs as the pod is shunted out into space. 'Dammit!' Wolverine snarls, before informing Emma that rip-off Sinister just left for Earth in an escape pod. 'Get all eyes on him as fast as you can!' Wolverine warns Emma, before he cries out as a blast strikes him in the back. M.O.D.O.K. laughs, and tells the mutants that he admires them deploying the Brood. M.O.D.O.K. has a helmet covering his head, and jets out into space, as he reminds the mutants that last time they met, they survived a crashing space station. 'It would be easy for you to do it again, no?' he asks, laughing.

Polaris, Nightcrawler and Colossus move through the station inside a magnetic field, and Nightcrawler wonders how they will find Logan in all this mess. Polaris tells Nightcrawler not to worry, as she can feel his adamantium bones. She contacts Broo and instructs him to summon his Brood back to Knowhere, as she has placed it in a stable orbit – while the Bloom is going to crash to Earth. Polaris decides to aim it for the Southern Ocean, before indicating that they can then regroup on Earth. They've found Wolverine, and he joins them inside the magnetic bubble, while Colossus reports that he was unable to find Firestar. Wolverine tells the others that Stasis gloated that he has her, but realizes it could be a trap, as she could already be dead. 'We'll know the truth of the matter when we find him' Polaris points out.

At that moment, in Paris, Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops is on his knees, while the Omega Sentinel holds a blade to his neck. She tells him that she argued he didn't need a trial, but their human friends in Orchis insisted. 'You fleshy things do so like your symbolism, and a woman with a sword passing judgment is just that' Omega Sentinel remarks. She then raises the sword above Cyclops and notes that he doesn't seem scared. 'I admire that' she utters. Cyclops tells her that he isn't afraid – as there is a very special woman who will simply not let her kill him. Indeed, there is a sudden surge of energy, and the Omega Sentinel is frozen in place. Dr. Alia Gregor steps forward and announces that she can only use that small E.M.P. once, as Omega Sentinel will reboot any second, so they have to act quickly. Cyclops looks shocked to see Dr. Gregor, and asks 'To what do I owe the pleasure?'

'What you said to me in the prison. I think... we might have a problem with a secret part of Orchis' Dr. Gregor announces, before informing Cyclops that there is a part of the organization that she has not been able to access after she and her husband brought Nimrod online. 'There's a huge amount of resources that have no oversight. Both on Earth... and in space'. And, beneath the Krakoan island, where Nimrod was stomped into the ground, the dangerous Sentinel breaks free from the sap he was trapped in, and mysteriously vanishes, while Alia Gregor asks Cyclops 'Tell me... what do you know about Sentinel City?'

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Gambit, Juggernaut, Nightcrawler, Polaris, Rogue, Shadowkat, Synch, Wolverine (all X-Men)
Lactuca the Knower


Dr. Alia Gregor, M.O.D.O.K., Nimrod, Omega Sentinel, Dr. Stasis (all Orchis)
Orchis agents
Stark Sentinels


Story Notes: 

Feilong and Iron Man's story is told in Invincible Iron Man (5th series) #15.

Rogue's assignment involving Manifold was chronicled in Rogue & Gambit (2nd series) #1-5.

Written By: