Storm & the Brotherhood of Mutants #2

Issue Date: 
May 2023
Story Title: 
part 7: No Hope

Al Ewing (writer), Andrea di Vito ( (artist), Jim Charalampidis and Rachelle Rosenberg (color), VC’s Ariana Maher (letterer), Jay Bowen (design),Leinil Francis Yu & Matt Milla (cover artists), Todd Nauck, Jonah Lobe, Rickie Yagama (variant covers), VC’s Clayton Cowles (production), Laurie Amaro (associate editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

100 years in the future, the remnants of Storm’s Brotherhood attempt to fight Orbis Stellaris’ Compact. Destiny joins them. After Mystique died, she is now offering a true truce, because she wants this timeline to end. Working together with X-Man and the others, the few X-fighters manage to enter Orbis Stellaris’ Death Sphere, which surrounds the Worldfarm, and actually shut Stellaris’ fleet out. Destiny sees how their plan will work and Storm will give the order to destroy the Moira lab. Storm does so, however it was preplanned that this would mean the order to kill Destiny, meaning it was her own death she foresaw. Storm believes that, as long as there is life, there is hope. She merges her mutant power with her magical ones to cast a spell that sends them with the Worldfarm to the edge of the universe, a place where they can create a new Arakko. However, Storm won’t be around to see it, as she gave her life to cast the spell. Left behind and without the possibility to gain Dominion Status, Orbis Stellaris kills himself and his forces.

Full Summary: 

100 years later:
A large space station, Arakko Base, somewhere in unknown space:
Control addresses the starship Ananke that they are allowed to dock. However, control asks for the cycle’s code words, which are immediately stated by the ship. Control is about to clear them, when Commander Noh-Varr tells him to wait and demands Ananke give them next cycle’s code. The confused ensign points out that they don’t even have the code yet. Nevertheless, the reply comes from the starship. The ensign asks the computer to generate the next code and it is precisely the same.

Noh-Varr orders him to signal the old lady. It’s the real thing.

The ship’s passenger, Destiny, is welcomed by Ironfire, X-Man (Cable/Xilo) and Khora who remarks acidly that Noh says it is really her this time, in the ancient flesh. What could bring her out of her safe conformable bunker?

Not her mockery, Destiny retorts. Where’s the old Witch? If she means the Goddess, show a little respect! Ironfire admonishes her. Destiny orders him not to start with that nonsense. Even Exodus grew out of his one-man religion. He left his messiah to be eaten alive by Chitauri. That’s Sinister for you, Ironfire replies, unimpressed. Unable to see anything greater than themselves.

Give her strength! Destiny sighs, then addresses Cable, or is it X-Man? Is he too wormridden now to give a damn about his daughter’s death? X-Man replies that this body is more history than humanity now, and there is a dead loved one on every page. They will all be avenged. And what about her dead? Irene shouts and takes off her mask. Where is her vengeance? What about Mystique?

An ice planet:
Destiny begs Mystique not to join a battle. That recklessness isn’t her. Yes, it is, Mystique replies as she loads her weapon. It’s just a part Irene never liked. She reminds her, they are the reason this timeline is still ticking. She says they fight for it! The Brotherhood can’t win their rebellion alone, and the truth is she doesn’t want to spend the rest of forever as a keepsake in Destiny’s vault. If she loves something, set it free! is her parting shot to Irene as she leaves the bunker to join her Freedom Force consisting of Hercules, a young Nova and a large chimera.

She wanted to live forever with her! Destiny cries. Or for as much of it as they could steal. With her in her arms, decades flew past like summer days. It was enough for Irene, but not for Raven.

She puts on her mask. So Raven died for Storm’s damned cause. To keep some backwater world free… whatever that means. A red diamond on the forehead. A golden ball on the flag. What is any of it worth?

Everything! comes the reply, as a wizened but still beautiful Storm enters in her hoverchair. Jon Ironfire bows and a muscular blue woman announces: Commander on deck.

But if she has to ask… Storm continues. It’s been a long time. How’s that bunker of hers? How’s her war against the entire galaxy? Irene shoots back. Not as lonely, Storm suspects, nor as cold. She is sure it won’t be, Destiny warns her. If she could find Storm, so can the Compact. As her hand begins to glow, the blue woman, Ganna, angrily asks if that is a threat. Storm orders her back. Obviously, it’s a threat, but they needn’t be rude. Is there a carrot to go with that stick? How can their humble rebellion help her today?

Destiny explains that they once offered Storm a chance to end all this cleanly. At the time, it was a lie. Irene simply had too much to lose… but now? Raven is dead. The galaxy is on fire. They all lost everything. It’s time to end this phase of the game. It’s time to kill Moira for real.

Soon, the Brothership and all the X-fighters are in Warpspace. At the helm, Noh-Varr the Accuser informs the fighter they are two minutes to drop out. Once they drop, the X-fighters are to launch. The fighters are manned by X-Man, Ganna and Jon Ironfire. Ironfire and Ganna banter and X-Man tells them to be serious. This isn’t a game. This is history!

They drop out of hyperspace to face the giant golden globe of the Deah Sphere - a scaled up version of Orbis Stellaris’ life-support shell. It surrounds the World Farm and allows it to travel anywhere in the galaxy, enabling total domination of all worlds under the Compact’s aegis, while in the World Farm Orbis Stellaris’ Progenitors are working on Project Dominion.

The bridge of the World Farm is manned by different kinds of aliens, including Skrulls. They are on orange alert. An ill-mannered Orbis Stellaris demands where the attack came from. How did the forces of the Red Diamond cloak themselves so? To his surprise, he learns the Brothership is responsible. Three fighters and a ship ready for scrap are attacking them? Are they desperate or has the old witch finally gone senile? Stellaris decides not to take his Progenitors from their research work. Standard fighters should suffice. He sends all of them, about a hundred.

The Brothership:
She hopes Storm knows what she is doing, Destiny remarks on the bridge, as Khora of the Burning Heart boosts her power making her precognition more accurate. X-Man is to send those predictions to the fighters. Destiny warns that perhaps all that will be broadcast are their inevitable deaths. Even she can only game the future so far… Raven’s death was proof of that.

Or proof of a more human failing perhaps, Storm suggests and asks what she sees. A pitched battle, but she admits that her prescience, Xilo’s processing power and Nathan’s strategy are an unbeatable combination, a self-fulfilling prophecy. She sees Storm give the order to destroy the artificial sun at the heart of the Sphere, and the Moira lab at the heart of that. A moment’s euphoria in victory… and then darkness. No more to see. The end of a universe. The future is set, they will win!

Storm and Khora glance at each other.

X-Man sends the visions to the other fighters and tells Ironfire to trust his instincts. Ironfire scoffs. Suddenly, he sees Mother Righteous sitting in front of him. Definition of faith, some would say. She tells him she is only a daydream. She is just catching the show, this will prove her right in so many ways. But while she’s here, any regrets to share? Anything he’d do different if he could?

The Genesis War, Ironfire admits. He made a mistake, took a life. That haunts him still. His faith is a penance. Because he didn’t have faith then. He didn’t trust the Storm but, as long as Ororo is with them – leading them – there is nothing they can’t do, he grins. Does she want proof? Look around her! And indeed, the forces of the Compact do not manage to hit their foes.

How are they this lucky? a Skrull wonders. Orbis Stellaris corrects him. Not luck. This is destiny! Somewhat disappointed, he mutters he expected more foresight from Irene. He wonders what their goals are, then realizes it’s the fighter ejection hatch! The last fighters are leaving the sphere now, the Skrull replies. Orbis Stellaris interrupts him and orders him to close the hatch.

Too late! The three Brotherhood fighters are inside the Sphere, and the forces of the Compact are outside. No one here but the Progenitors. And before they can be re-tasked from their labors… Noh-Varr tells Storm that the black torpedo is locked on the center sun. If she says the word, they will all go down together. Do it, Storm orders. “Until next time, my love,” Destiny whispers, then she is killed by a sword from behind.

Painless, she hopes, Storm asks Khora, who replies it had to be or she’d have sent the intel back to herself. Instead, darkness – as prophesied. The end of a universe – her own.

Storm orders Noh-Varr to disarm the torpedo. He hesitates: they fought their way here, and they are not blowing up the Moiras? If Destiny was right – this reality is hell… Storm strictly corrects him, it is a hell that still supports life and therefore hope. Ninety years ago, she was angry and still is. But how many have lived and died since then? One dead planet does not justify a murdered universe. The Moira lab is an abomination – one they must defuse, not simply destroy. And if they cannot, they must guard it with their lives, for they guard the lives of everything that is.

X-Man wonders how to achieve that, since they just lost their window on enemy tactics. As soon as they get that hatch back open, the Brotherhood are literally fish in the barrel.

Storm corrects him: they are fish in an ocean, and she sailed this ocean before. She orders Khora to enhance her powers. Storm explains, to be an omega level mutant is to be without limit, but there are limits beyond limits. Powers beyond powers that she is also heir to, for they do not call her “the old witch” without cause. Her mother was a sorceress from a sorcerous line. Her blood is in Storm, and in her name and those before she calls: In Ashake’s name – in Ayesha’s name - she calls Amun of the invisible! She calls Hauthet who rules space. She offers them fire! And a life incarnate! That through magic and mutation she may command the weather of the cosmos itself – and summon a storm to shake realities! In Ororo’s name - let the wormhole open!

And it does, swallowing the Worldfarm and the Brothership.

And on his bridge, Orbis Stellaris finds his life work gone with the Worldfarm and his Progenitors. And to add insult to injury, it was done by a magic spell. He orders the computer to switch off life support on his ship.

The Brotherhood now find themselves at the edges of the universe, where they are sure to not be found.

Ganna asks about the Progenitors, but X-Man tells her it is her job. An electromagnetic pulse in the right place should wipe their orders. Without an overlord to command them, they will be happy just maintaining their artificial planets. They should leave them to it and concentrate on the center sun. With a little work it could be a fortress - Fort Arakko. Maybe a new home for their scattered people.

Ironfire agrees if the goddess agrees. She hasn’t led them wrong yet. He asks Khora of Storm’s idea.

Khora weeps. Storm said something about a life offered. She smiled and… She sits beside Ororo’s smiling, dead body. They are on their own, she tells Ironfire.

Characters Involved: 

Ganna, Jon Ironfire, Khora, Noh-varr, Storm, X-Man (Brotherhood of Arakko)

Orbis Stellaris
Mother Righteous

In flashback:
Destiny, Mystique
Hercules, a member of the Nova Corps, others (Mystique’s freedom fighters)

Story Notes: 

This is part 7 of Sins of Sinister, following Immoral X-Men #2. The next part is Immoral X-Men #3.

The information crawl at the beginning as well as several other elements are clearly a homage to the original Star Wars trilogy.

Destiny’s ship is called Ananke – Ancient Greek for “necessity.”

The Golden Ball stands for Orbis Stellaris’ sphere.

Exodus set Cable’s daughter Hope Summers up to be killed in Immoral X-Men #2.

Ironfire’s lack of faith is something that will be a topic in further issues of X-Men Red.

Unlike others of her ancestors, Storm’s mother N’dare was never known to be a witch.

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