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Sixth story: Kieron Gillen (writer), Jen Hickman (artist), Brittany Peer (colorist)Seventh story: Terry Blas (writer), Paulina Ganucheau (artist), Kendall Good (colorist)Eighth story: Anthony Oliveira (writer), Javier Garron (artist), David Curiel (colorist)Ninth story: JJ Kirby (writer, artist, colorist)Tenth story: Tini Howard (writer), Samantha Dodge (artist), Brittany Peer (colorist)Eleventh story: Vita Ayala (writer), Joanna Estep (artist), Brittney L Williams (layouts), Brittany Peer (colorist)Twelfth story: Steve Orlando (writer), Claudio Aguirre (artist), Luciano Vecchio (Somnus character design)Luciano Vecchio (cover artist), Kris Anka; Oliver Coipel & Marte Gracia; Russell Dauterman & Matthew Wilson; Paulina Ganucheau; Phil Jimenez & Marte Gracia; Phil Jimenez & Federico Blee; Ernanda Souza; Luciano Vecchio; Jeffrey Veregge (variant cover artists), Virtual Calligraphy's Ariana Maher (letterer), Stacie Zucker (designer), Sarah Brunstad (editor), Angelique Roche (consulting editor), Will Moss (special thanks), Sarah Sather (special thanks), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)
(6th story)Prodigy and Speed are spending time together, and Prodigy recounts how he coped growing during his formative years as a young mutant and a queer person at the Xavier School, where he experienced a strange way of discovering he is bi-sexual. He specifically focuses on his crush on Colossus, which leads Speed to understand Prodigy better – but nevertheless he tells him he will not be starting to go to the gym!
(7th story)During a dance party at the Green Lagoon, Anole is tending bar while catching up with Graymalkin. Graymalkin notes how they have had to fight so hard for the right to celebrate, before Pixie arrives. She helps Anole behind the bar. She and Graymalkin are both concerned about Anole withdrawing lately and also having no dates. Graymalkin assures Anole that he is his best friend and that he loves him, but encourages him to put himself out there to meet someone. Anole thinks the way he looks puts other men off, before Daken walks over and asks him to dance. Anole is taken aback, but cannot refuse – so long as Graymalkin is allowed to join them. Daken is happy with that, and the three dance together in the middle of the dancefloor.
(8th story)At the Xavier School, Iceman is struggling with his feelings for Angel. He finds some unexpected support when Magneto, who is supposed to be attacking the school, stops his assault to talk to him.
(9th story)Kyle Jinadu loves his husband, Northstar, and spends his waking moments supporting Northstar by doing simple things, so that Northstar can be the hero that he is.
(10th story)Raven Darkholme disguises herself as Irene Adler on a train where she meets with a professor called James. They play chess, and James confronts Irene – he has a photograph of Irene and her “monster” Raven kissing. He offers to take Raven and study her at his property, and take Irene as his wife. Raven then drops her disguise. She tells him that Irene is always ahead of everyone, before snapping his neck and throwing him off the train. Raven returns to Irene and they promise never to waste a minute they are not at war, and kiss.
(11th story)At the Hellfire Gala after-party on Planet Akkaro, Karma appears solemn, sitting at the bar on her own. Magik notices her friend and goes to talk to her, discovering that Karma has feelings for the winged mutant Galura. Karma is worried that the bad things she has done in her life will count against her, or that she might somehow use her powers to control other people on Galura. Magik gives Karma some words of encouragement which enable Karma to pluck up her courage and ask Galura out on a date. Galura immediately accepts the invitation, and they kiss and dance as the after-party continues.
(12th story)Aurora finds Daken sitting in the hatchery as Daken awaits the return of someone he knew long ago. Daken tells Aurora about the man called Carl Valentino, who he met and spent a lifetime with – or so he thought – Carl's mutant power made it seem like one together was a whole life. Daken ran from that, and never saw Carl again. Carl lived a life raising his brother and sister and a family until he died some 50 years later. Daken arranged for Carl to be reborn. Carl is happy to be on Krakoa, and to see Daken after all this time. Carl then helps Jumbo Carnation design a costume, and takes the name Somnus.
(6th story)'I mean, you're all “Mutant Culture is the Greatest Culture” now, but a NY slice? This is civilization's apex right here. Behold the alliance of cheese and grease, of David Alleyne! Your fiendish Krakoan science will never find its match!' Tommy Shepherd a.k.a. Speed jokes as he and David Alleyne a.k.a. Prodigy stand on the corner of a sidewalk, both holding a large slice of New York style pizza. David ignores Tommy's joking and asks him when he knew he was bi. 'I'm bi? Oh no! I had no idea!' Tommy responds, wide-eyed. David rolls his eyes and tells Tommy that he is trying to be serious. 'I know you are' Tommy smiles. 'And I think you think too much' he adds. They begin to walk down the sidewalk as Tommy explains that it wasn't a big deal for him – he crushed on who he crushed on and worried about what label fit later. 'Got to be honest, never did much worrying about the labels either. Or anything else, really' he adds. Tommy tells David that everything is easy when you don't think too much, as life is too short to waste time thinking.
'God, I wish I could be like that' David replies, glancing away. 'Well, that's normal. The whole world wishes they could be the wonder that is Tommy Shepherd' Tommy boasts, before asking 'Okay, Davey. Tell me. Tell me your ORIGIN STORY!' he exclaims, waving some pizza towards David. David explains that he spent the most hormonal years of his life in the X-Mansion. 'People will talk about having a crush on one of their teachers, right? Imagine if your teachers looked like the X-Men!' he exclaims. 'Oh, I am!' Tommy purrs, causing David to shove his hand into Tommy's face to get him to stop. 'Oh, please! It's not like that. Yeah, I imagine for adults, the X-Men are bisexual heaven, but not when you're in a hormonal hell. Imagine trying to pay attention when Emma Frost is your teacher. And the first time Colossus walked into the room, it was... I didn't have words, and I have all the words!' David exclaims, remembering that time. 'So, being me, I did research. You know me. I'm the sort to read around. A mistake'.
David tells Tommy that there is still some research claiming bi men don't exist, and that there was a paper saying bi men they tested registered either straight or gay. 'So... was I pretentious, or was I in denial?' David asks. Tommy throws his napkin into a nearby trashcan and tells David that this is why strongly recommends against reading. 'I may agree in this case' David mutters, before explaining that he looks at it now, and he can see why it is crappy science, and completely against how so many people live their lives...but then, when I didn't have a clue? It was poison'. David tells Tommy that he didn't want to be pretentious, as he knew he liked girls, so he was straight, and was close with Surge – but the problem with being bi, for him, is that it is easy to think you are straight – you just have to ignore everything that isn't.
David narrows his eyes as he informs Tommy that he did ignore everything for a while, and that he wonders how long that “while” could have lasted if it weren't for what happened next. Tommy listens as David explains that his powers let him have the expertise of everyone near him, and while he lost that power for a while, at one point, everything he had ever borrowed was unlocked – he had access to everything at once – and this time, he got more. He got the perspectives, he got a taste of how people saw the world, saw each other and how they felt – not memories, just feeling. How they loved. How they lusted – and everything in between. He got to compare and contrast – what was similar and what wasn't. 'Don't give me that kind of look! I know it's weird...' David starts to tell Tommy, who speeds around to the other side of David and exclaims 'It is! That's why you have to give me more than just hand waving. Example! Now!'
'Oh, right. Kitty Pryde. The pang was hers, and my pang was mine, but I recognized they were a similar species. By understanding her, I felt seen. I saw myself' David explains, smiling. Tommy then asks David why Colossus is called “Colossus”. 'He's got a real name. Like Ivanov Russianov or something, right?' Tommy remarks. 'Shuddup' David tells him, putting his hand on Tommy's face. 'I got perspective. I feel lucky. Thank god for other people. We'd all be alone without other people' David remarks. Tommy speeds around to the other side of David again, as David asks 'Who knows how many years it could have taken me to figure it out without that moment'. 'Yup. For a smart person, you're plenty dumb' Tommy tells David. David glances sideways and remarks that he hopes it is easier for the next generation. 'I had a lot of great mutant representation coming up, but not nearly enough queer rep' David explains. 'Hey, now you're both. Don't worry, Davey. Thanks for sharing your awful teenage Colossus crush. I understand what you're trying to tell me' Tommy assures his boyfriend. They hold hands and David thanks Tommy, before they kiss. 'You're saying you want me to go to the gym. No!' Tommy then snaps, while David rolls his eyes.
(7th story)The Green Lagoon, Krakoa, where Victor Borkwoski a.k.a. Anole is behind the bar, making a drink. Jonas Graymalkin sits at the bar while other mutants at the Green Lagoon dance nearby. 'How about it, Gray? Another?' Anole asks his friend. As Gambit and Rogue dance behind him, Graymalkin smiles and tells his friend that would be terrific, but should also be his last one, as this dance party is exactly what he needs – this drink, not so much. 'Things have been tense, lately. It's easy to forget what we are fighting for' Graymalkin adds. As he shakes a drink, Anole asks his friend what he means. 'This is what we fight for, Victor' Graymalkin replies, motioning to the dancefloor, where Monet, Iceman and Christian Frost can be seen dancing together. 'For the right to dance and get trashed so bad you wake up with the worst hangover you've ever had?' Anole asks. 'For the right to celebrate, to be happy with family and friends. Take it from someone who spent two centuries underground – we fight for the right to live the way we want' Jonas explains, while nearby, Wolverine can be seen pointing his finger at Cyclops, possibly arguing, as Jean Grey looks on. 'To be ourselves in the light. To be safe' Jonas utters.
'Let me guess, Jonas. Victor is being detached and sullen yet again' Megan Gwynn a.k.a. Pixie smiles as she approaches the bar. 'Aren't bartenders supposed to be charming or good listener or something?' Megan asks. Victor smiles and claims that he is very charming. 'The Shadow King and all the misfit mutants wouldn't spend so much time with me if I weren't, right?' he asks, before telling Megan that if he had some help putting those glasses away, that might lift his mood. Megan goes behind the bar to help Victor, while Jonas tells him that they are just worried about him. Jonas points out that Victor seems to have closed himself off to the idea of ever meeting someone. 'When is the last time you went out on a date?' he asks. Anole looks shocked, before folding his arms and rolling his eyes as he replies 'What would we even do on a date around Krakoa?' As she stacks some glasses, Megan points out that they are on an island – so he can literally go for a romantic walk on the beach. At that moment, Jean Grey can be seen turning away from Cyclops and Wolverine as they appear to argue, with Wolverine popping his claws.
'I don't know. I haven't really pursued anything lately because I don't want to get my hopes up only to find out some guy can't deal with how I look' Victor explains. He tells his friends that he is sick of someone thinking they are interested then finding out his skin isn't soft, or they are turned off by how bumpy his arm is. 'I can't do anything about that' Victor adds. Jonas tells him that he has to put himself out there, and that there are plenty of men who would love to go out with him if he just opens up a bit. 'Oh yeah? And when was the last time you opened up and went out with someone, huh?' Victor asks. 'Last week' Jonas replies. 'What? Really? You didn't tell me anything!' Victor complains. 'I will' Jonas responds, before telling Victor that he hopes he knows that he is his best friend, and that he wants him to feel loved and desired. 'I can't tell you what it means to have someone who understands me. I'd never have been able to adjust to this time if it hadn't been for you' Jonas explains.
Victor flicks Jonas with a towel, before they hold hands and look into each other's eyes. 'I love you. I'm so grateful to have a gay friend to talk to, and that it's you. It's so important to me' Victor tells Jonas. 'I love you right back' Jonas replies.
Suddenly: 'Hey, you going to be stuck behind the bar all night, or do you want to come dance with me?' a voice calls out. Victor, Jonas and Megan look over to see Akihiro a.k.a. Daken walking towards them – shirtless, of course. Victor tells Megan that she can go dance and he will finish up the dishes, but Daken smiles at him: 'No. Not her. You' he explains. 'No offense, Megan' he adds. 'None taken' Megan smiles. 'Me? But I thought you were with Aurora' Victor replies, confused. Daken points out that it is just a dance. 'I mean, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't curious about that tongue, but if that's a no...' Daken smiles. 'Go. I'll cover the bar' Megan smiles as she pushes Victor towards Daken. At gthat moment, Jean Grey can be smiling as Cyclops and Wolverine hug.
'So what do you say, handsome? Want to dance?' Daken asks, smiling as he extends a hand to Victor. 'Sure. But only if Jonas can dance with us' Anole replies, pointing at Graymalkin. 'The more the merrier' Daken replies as he takes Anole in one hand and Graymalkin in his other. The lights flicker and music continues to play as the three men move onto the dancefloor. Jean Grey can be seen dancing with Cyclops and Wolverine. Nearby, Christian Frost, Storm, Jubilee, Gambit and Rogue are all dancing. Mirage, Monet, Bling, Iceman and Chamber are dancing together, too, while Graymalkin and Anole both smile as they dance with Daken.
(8th story)Meanwhile, at Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters...
'Make them tighter, Bobby! The soft gauze construction prevents the bands from chafing!' Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Angel calls out to Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman, as Bobby kneels beside Warren, adjusting the straps around his legs that keep his wings restrained, pinned to his back and down his legs. 'How do you stand it, Warren? It must feel like wearing a girdle!' Bobby tells his friend. 'That may be, little friend – but it's better than giving away my identity to the human race!' Warren replies. Bobby stands up and adjusts the straps around Warren's shoulders as he remarks 'If you ask me, nobody would care if they found out about us!' Warren brushes Bobby off: 'Nobody asked you, sonny! Juist keep taping!'
Warren puts a shirt on and starts to adjust his tie as Bobby watches him and asks him how come his parents don't know about his wings. 'They didn't sprout till I was off at military school' Warren explains, adding that when he was there, he just kept them under his uniform – at first. He explains that is why he left school, because he couldn't afford to face a phyiscal exam. Bobby sits on the bed in the bedroom and rests his head on his knee which he pulls up to his face. 'Do you really think it would be that bad if we told? If people knew?' Bobby asks as he watches Warren comb his hair. 'That'd be the end for the school... for us...' Warren responds.
Suddenly: 'All set, high flyer?' Jean Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl asks as she enters the room. 'The Professor's right... the world isn't ready' Warren tells Bobby, leaving Bobby alone in a dark room, sitting on the bed and hanging his head.
Another day: 'Wow' Bobby gasps as he watches Warren fly up out of the school swimming pool. The sun glows down on Warren, his wings outstretched, water glistening on his muscular body. Bobby sits on the edge of the swimming pool, hanging his legs in the water. He looks over as Angel drops down to the side of the pool and starts talking to Jean. They smile at each other and embrace – and suddenly, the entire pool turns to ice.
Yet another day: 'Now we will see, Xavier, how firm are your foundations... when the wolf is at your door!' Magneto, the Master of Magnetism, exclaims as he flies towards the Xavier School, several missiles under his control. 'The time is come at last, Charles – to make you – understand?' Magneto begins, suddenly finding himself distracted as he looks down and sees Bobby, sitting near a statue surrounded by trees, away from the main campus. Bobby is crying, and rubs the tears from his eyes.
'Don't be afraid' Magneto calls out as he lowers himself down towards Bobby. 'Holy geez!' Bobby calls out, surprised. 'Despite your headmaster constantly flinging them at me... I have no wish to harm children' Magneto remarks.
'You literally just had... missiles?' Bobby remarks, still crying. Magneto tells him that sometimes missiles are how grown-ups talk. 'What is your name?' Magneto then asks. Bobby sniffs as he tells the Master of Magnetism his name. 'I'm... DIFFERENT. And... I... It's... I know...' Bobby begins, putting his head into his arms as he continues to cry. Tears stream down his face as he looks back up, and turns away from Magneto as he utters 'It's a secret, it's not safe, and I don't want... he's so beautiful and he's... nice and I don't... I don't...' Bobby's voice trails off.
'Oh, Charles' Magneto sighs. He removes his helmet and crouches beside Bobby. 'I have been different all my life, child. Not like... well. But it is a thorny and lonely road to walk. Especially for the young' Magneto tells Bobby. Bobby wipes his eyes and looks at Magneto as the older mutant remarks 'We differ in methods. And it will never be “safe.” It never is. But we will make a better future. A future less lonely for the different'. Magneto continues, stating that they will make a brave new world – and promises this to Bobby.
'Sorry about your missiles' Bobby remarks. 'Well. There will be other missiles' Magneto replies. 'And I think I got snot all on your cape' Bobby adds. Magneto starts to say that he should go before Charles detects him. 'He's... um. Actually not even home' Bobby reveals. 'Oh. Then perhaps I can stay a little longer. If you like' Magneto tells the younger mutant. 'Can I try on your hat?' Bobby then asks. Magneto looks at him and smiles, before putting his helmet on Bobby. 'Awesome' Bobby smiles from under the helmet.
(9th story)'My name is Kyle Jinadu, and I love this man' Kyle smiles to himself as he wakes, his husband Jean-Paul Beaubier in his arms. Kyle looks at his husband and thinks that people don't appreciate him – they see Northstar's cocky exterior and ask if he is a jerk at home. 'They don't know my Jean-Paul'. Jean-Paul wakes and gets out of bed. Yawning as he rubs his muscular behind, covered by boxer-briefs that say “Ice Ice Baby” and have a picture of a snowman. 'They don't understand your sense of humor...your passion...or how bold you are when picking your moments to express yourself' Kyle thinks to himself as he sits up in bed, Jean-Paul turning to him and smiling.
As he sets out Jean-Paul's costume, Kyle thinks to himself that all sincere support should be appreciated – but even the X-Men don't always understand when Jean-Paul needs support, let alone how to support him. Kyle gets it – and he wants to be Jean-Paul's most fortified supporter in the storm of life. Northstar emerges from the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist. He smiles – then speeds about as he changes into the costume that Kyle set out for him. And like always, as Jean-Paul hugs Kyle, Kyle tells him 'Your love is beautiful, so don't be a jerk to people'. Northstar smiles, then flies out of their treehouse home on Krakoa as Kyle calls out 'Now got get 'em, you sexy elf!' and Northstar grins from ear to ear.
(10th story)Outside London, circa 1900, where the moon shines down from the night sky, as a train chugs along a set of tracks nestled between trees on a mountain. 'May I pour you a drink, Miss Adler?' a middle-aged man asks as he sits in a large red arm-chair. A chessboard is set out on a table between his chair and another red armchair, where Irene Adler sits. 'Tea will do, Professor Mo-' Irene Adler starts to reply, before he quickly interrupts her: 'Oh, my dear...How many times must I insist you call me James?' he asks her, before suggesting that he thinks she will want something stronger for tonight's game. 'White opens, of course' he adds. Irene clasps her hands together as she asks James if he intends to play a particularly mean game tonight. 'I would never go easy on your brilliant mind, Irene' James replies – to which Irene tells him to call her “Miss Adler”. Irene then moves her first pawn on the chess board. 'Tsk. Terrible opener' James tells her. Irene tells James that she isn't concerned, and that she has studied a bit of chess. 'I know how this ends' she utters.
James moves his first pawn and states that he will speak plainly. He remarks that as intellectuals and detectives in this fine country, they have long had a mutual respect for one another, and a disdain for criminals and killers. 'I do enjoy our chess games' he comments, before pointing out that Irene's consulting partner, a woman named Raven Darkholme – sometimes. 'She has a great many identities, and they're all very good. But she's been sloppy' James declares. 'I assure you she hasn't' Irene responds. Irene is about to make her next chess move, but James motions for her hand to move away and declares 'Oh, she has. And she has something I want'. He places two photographs on the chessboard. 'Don't let her feel shame – I have come into possession of some marvelous new technology. She couldn't have seen it coming. Nobody could have seen this coming. Especially not you'. The photographs depict Irene Adler and a blue-skinned woman – Raven Darkholme – locked in embrace and kissing.
'I suppose you can't see anything, so let me explain: These are photographs. But none you sat to have made. Someone watched you. You and Raven. And seeing what sort of monster she is, they saw fit to capture the image'. Irene offers no response, her small dark glasses covering her eyes. 'You'll have to trust me... it's quite damning. Not for anything so foolish as your relationship with her. Your inversion is of no interest to me' James remarks. He smiles as he tells Irene that as she is without sight, he is willing to offer her the benefit of the doubt. 'The woman you proclaim to love is no woman at all. She is a monster with eyes like a snake. But I offer you salvation' James claims. As Irene reaches to take the photographs, James offers to keep the “monster” at his estate for academic study. He tells Irene that she will be permitted to see her from time to time. 'After all, you will be living on the same property – as my wife'.
Suddenly, James reaches across and grabs Irene's hand: 'And what is your plan? To take this photograph and run? We were in the middle of a game' he snaps, before informing Irene that it is her move. Irene offers no response, she simply moves another of her pawns onto the board. 'You are rattled. Opening me to the fool's mate?' James asks, moving one of his pieces, he tells Irene that this is the easiest win in chess. 'Checkmate' he boasts. But, a moment later, Raven Darkholme reveals herself – she has been disguised as Irene. 'Keep your eyes on your little board, James. It's the only game you're going to win' Raven declares. 'Witch!' James utters. 'Dangerous monster!' James calls out, but Raven tells him that he has no idea what she is. She pushes the table aside and leaps onto James, grabbing his neck, she warns him that he is even more foolish because he has no idea what Irene is. 'You never were a move ahead of Destiny' Raven utters as she wraps her arms around James' face. 'No-' James begins – before Raven snaps his neck. A moment later, she hurls his body out one of the train windows, where it falls down into a ravine. 'No one ever is' Raven adds.
'Raven? Is it done?' the real Irene Adler asks as Raven returns to their room within the train. 'It's done. Of course, it's done, Irene' Raven replies. 'I would do...anything for you' Raven utters as she puts a hand on Irene's. Raven then kneels at Raven's feet and rests her head on Raven's legs. 'Never for me, Raven. Not me. Only for us. Another one who thought he was ahead of us. They always do' Irene reminds Raven. Raven looks up at Irene and puts a hand on her face as she asks her 'Will they ever learn? When will it end?' But Irene tells her beloved that she cannot see that it will. 'Then... let us never waste a moment that we are not at war' Raven replies, leaning into kiss Irene, who kisses back, passionately, causing her cup of tea to fall to the floor.
(11th story)Mars, or Planet Arakko as it is now known, where the Hellfire Gala after-party is in full swing. Polaris and Daken can be seen crossing the dancefloor, walking past Gambit and Northstar. Rictor can be seen walking in another direction, near where Synch and Aurora are dancing. Warpath is talking to one of the Stepford Cuckoos at the bar, while at the other end of the bar Warlock is talking with Sunfire and Kwannon – probably puzzling them both. Magik is at another end of the bar and looks over to see Karma a.k.a. Xi'an Coy Mahn sitting on her own. Magik gets up and walks towards her friend, passing Nightcrawler dancing with Mercury, and Synch, who has moved on to dance with Beast and Domino. Karma sighs, while Magik stands behind her and tells her to go ask Elle to dance before her pining sprains something. Karma is looking at Gabrielle “Elle” Diwa a.k.a Galura, a winged mutant who smiles as she dances near Pixie and Manifold.
'What? No – absolutely not, I – I can't!' Karma exclaims, turning to look at Magik. Why not? What's the problem?' Magik asks as she holds up two drinks. Karma hangs her head as she thinks about Elle. She tells Magik that Elle is graceful and charming, that she could have anyone and she knows that – but she's never arrogant or cruel about it. 'She knows exactly what she wants, and she doesn't bother wasting time. And I can't live up to what she deserves. I'm just... me' Karma laments. Magik hands Karma one of the drinks and tells her: 'First of all, that's absolute bull$#%&. You may not be as pure as the newly driven snow, but you are a good person. Secondly, it is not that serious – she's not, you're a catch and it's not like you're trying to get married'. Magik knocks back her drink and utters 'Unless...' to which Karma exclaims 'What? No! I just, with the things I've done, it seems... pointless'.
'That sounds defeatist and boring, and I won't stand for it!' Magik snaps as she snatches Karma's drink back out of her hand. Magik tells Karma to go ask Elle, or else she will play matchmaker. 'And believe me when I say no one wants that, because I will tell her every embarassing story I know about you' Magik warns Karma. 'I – I – I just can't, okay? If it happened, it wouldn't be real' Karma tells Magik, grabbing her by her arm. 'Because...?' Magik asks. 'Because I want it so badly. Elle's beautiful, intelligent, kind and when I look at her, she's so radiant, it hurts' Karma utters, looking at her hands. 'My desire, my feelings, are so powerful that they feel like a living thing in my chest. Sometimes I can barely breathe when I think about her'. Karma looks up at Magik as she reminds her that her powers are literally to control other people – to take their will, and replace it with her own. 'I would never want to do that to her, but what if I don't realize I'm doing it? What if I take away her choice?' Karma asks. 'That is... the most ludicrous garbage I have ever heard' Magik replies, putting her hands on Karma's head.
They look out to the middle of the dancefloor, where Elle continues to dance, surrounded by Iceman, Monet, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Mercury, Gambit, Northstar, Polaris and Daken. Magik puts and arm around Karma as she remarks 'You've done things you aren't proud of. That's true, and we aren't in the business of pretending bad things didn't happen. But you are a good person, and you are in control of yourself. You've fought long and hard for it. And – just as important – you have to be truthful about the fact that others did evil to you. Being vulnerable in any way brings that up to the surface, too'. Magik smiles as she reminds Karma that Krakoa is about new beginnings and second chances. 'You said you want her to be free to choose – so mutant up and give her options!' Magik declares. Karma listens intently, while bending a straw. She then stands up and strides across the dancefloor in her couture pink dress. Magik smiles and folds her arms as she watches Karma.
Karma passes Nightcrawler and rogue, and Magneto, Aurora and Khora, then Storm. Sweat forms on her face as she looks over and sees Elle dancing with Kate Pryde, Betsy Braddock and Jubilee. She approaches Elle and taps her on her shoulder. 'Ahem. Excuse me, but I was wondering if -' Karma begins, as Elle turns around and smiles. 'Yes' Elle replies, as Karma finishes speaking '- you maybe want to, uh, after this, go on a da-'. Karma is surprised as Elle wraps an arm around her and leans her face in towards Karma's. 'I already said yes, Xi'an. About time you asked'. Elle touches Karma's face and asks her if that is okay. 'Yes? Yes' Karma replies, before they kiss. Music continues to play as Jubilee dances with Gambit, Jean Grey and Cyclops cross the dancefloor, and Magik raises her glass and smiles as Karma and Elle continue to kiss and dance.
(12th story)Inside the Arbor Magna resurrection chamber on Krakoa. 'Here you are, Akihiro. Strange to find you so distracted by someone... who isn't me' Jeanne-Marie Beaubier a.k.a. Aurora remarks as she approaches the shirtless Daken who is sitting in front of a pod within the hatchery. Aurora wraps her arms around Daken and asks him who he is waiting for. 'Is it a secret?' she asks him. Daken tells Aurora that everyone has secrets. 'He's one... from a different life' Daken utters.
Memories flood Daken's mind as he remembers being naked and kissing Carl Valentino, and recalls that he had just broken out of boot camp when he met him. Daken was sure he was in this alone – then there was Carl, a mutant, like him. They hid in Sendai, Daken's home. Soon enough, they stopped caring about hiding, and walked with their arms around each other in public. Dkans hackles were up for decades. Carl was patient – he wanted to know Daken – and Daken sure as hell made Carl work for it as they grew into old men together. They lived, and they were never found out. It felt like a dream that Daken didn't know he wanted – and then, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1967 – Daken woke up to a one-night stand.
Daken remembers looking at Carl who continued to sleep while Daken pulled his trousers on. Thanks to Carl's mutant power, one night together was a lifetime. Daken wasn't ready for that and he ran. Carl kept living – while Daken kept surviving. Things were different back then, Carl's parents died, so he raised his brother and his sister. Carl never made made time for himself, but with his powers, he carved out nights of happiness – so he never confronted the closet. Carl was an oneiromancer, who controlled dreams – but always put his family's before his own. Daken spent fifty years down in the blood, while Carl spent that time with people who loved him. But Daken didn't know him – he forgot about Carl until the obituary. If all the humans could mourn him, then Daken decides that he could stop running from him. He tells Aurora that the paper said Carl died peacefully, and lived a good life. But Daken thinks Carl deserves a better one. No one knew what they had. That night, that life – no one but them. 'Carl compromised his dreams... and he never should've had to'. Daken earlier visited the funeral, and once them mourners departed, he popped his claws as he stood next to the coffin.
Now, in the hatchery, Carl Valentino gasps as he is reborn, emerges from the orange pod, his naked body covered in the goo that all reborn mutants are covered in. Aurora kisses Daken on the cheek, while Carl looks around and asks 'Is... is this Krakoa? I – I remember news from before... was I dead? I didn't think I'd make it here' he calls out, before he looks over and sees Akihiro. 'I... I never thought I'd see you again' Carl utters. 'Never's a dead idea for our kind. Look around... you're just getting started, Carl' Daken smiles. Carl smiles back and exclaims that it is beautiful here, before he thanks Akihiro, and suggests that a new beginning calls for a new name – and he has got some ideas.
Soon, at the Green Lagoon. Carl is now wearing a white and black costume, with a long cape, the inside of which sparkles and glows with shades of yellow, orange, red and purple. He also wears a black mask around his eyes. Anole stands behind the bar and gazes over as Carl remarks 'Carl Valentine lived the hand he was dealt. He closed his eyes to rest, and he woke to see what dreams had come at last. He's awake – I'm finally awake – as SOMNUS!' Nearby, fashion designer Jumbo Carnation turns to Daken and remarks 'That man could get his hands on my dreams, Daken...some of my best work'. Jumbo asks Daken why all this for a fling from betond yesterday, as he doesn't seem the type. 'Please, Jumbo. What the hell good is Utopia... if you can't share it?' Daken replies, while Somnus smiles happily.
(6th story)Prodigy IV & Speed
In flashback imagesProdigy IV, Surge IVColossus, Gambit, Jubilee, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Storm
(7th story)Anole, Graymalkin, Pixie IIIDakenBling, Chamber, Cyclops, Christian Frost, Gambit, Jean Grey, Iceman, Jubilee, Mirage, Monet, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine
(8th story)Angel, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all X-Men)Magneto
In illustrative imageAngel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel GirlSentinels
(9th story)Northstar & Kyle Jinadu-Beaubier
(10th story)Raven Darkholme & Irene Adler
(11th story)KarmaGalura/Gabrielle “Elle” DiwaMagik
Aurora, Beast, Captain Britain II, Cyclops, Daken, Gambit, Jean Grey, Iceman, Jubilee, Khora, Kwannon, Magneto, Manifold, Mercury V, Monet, Nightcrawler, Northstar, Pixie III, Polaris, Kate Pryde, Rictor, Stepford Cuckoo, Storm, Sunfire, Synch, Warlock, Warpath
In flashback imagesGalura (Age of X)Galura (Krakoa)
(12th story)DakenAuroraSomnus/Carl ValentinoAnole, Jumbo Carnation
In flashbacksAkihiro & Carl Valentino
Carl Valentino's sister, brother and nieces and nephewsMourners
This issue includes a prologue featuring Prodigy talking about a brief history of LGBTQI+ characters in the Marvel Universe. Most of Marvel's LGBTQI+ characters apear in illustrative images throughout this narration.
This issue also includes a two-page interview with former associate editor Chris Cooper who was associate editor of Alpha Flight #106, the landmark issue in which Northstar announced he was gay.
Also included in this issue is two pages of historically important LGBTQI+ comics, highlighting milestone issues such as Northstar announcing he is gay, the first on-panel gay kiss, Wiccan and Hulkling's engagement, Northstar's wedding and Iceman coming out.
This issue includes a two-page illustration of several queer characters and allies, marching in a pride parade.
A segment of the historic Alpha Flight (1st series) #106 is also reprinted and appears at the end of this issue.
Finally, this issue also features a gallery of Pride variant covers that appear on several Marvel comic books released in June 2021
The other stories in this issue are:
First story: “Vows” a one-page story featuring Wiccan and Hulking's wedding vows.
Second story: “Under the Stars” a story featuring Karolina Dean and Nico Minoru from the Runaways.
Third story: “Something new Every Day” starring Elektra and Charlene McGowan.
Fourth story: “When a Black Cat Crosses Your Path, You Give Them the Right-of-Way” starring Black Cat and Marvel's first known transgender character, Jessie Drake, who first appeared in Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #150-151. This story acts as a direct follow up to those issues.
Fifth Story: “Totally Invulnerable” featuring Titania and a new character called Jennifer Harris, who dressed as She-Hulk for a convention.
(7th story)Graymalkin's tragic origin – where he was murdered by his own father for being gay – was depicted in X-Men: Manifest Destiny #3.
Anole has been spending time with the Shadow King in New Mutants (4th series) #14-17.
(8th story)Presumably this story is set before the time-displaced Bobby came out to his teammates.
(9th story)Kyle Jinadu was first introduced in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #508. He and Northstar dated for some time and were married in Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #51. Kyle was first seen living on Krakoa in X-Factor (4th series) #1.
(11th story)First appearance of Filipino mutant Galura in the main 616 universe. Previously, a similar version of her appeared in the Age of X-Man, specifically in Age of X-Man: Prisoner X #4-5, as a prisoner in the Danger Room Prison Complex.
Flashback panels show Karma thinking about Galura in the Age of X, and at the Green Lagoon on Krakoa, however Karma was not in the Age of X, so she shouldn't have memories of Galura from that time.
(12th story)First appearance of Somnus/Carl Valentino.
A footnote at the end of this story indicates for readers to look for Somnus in Krakoa “next year”.