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Gerry Duggan (writer), CF Villa (artist), Matt Milla (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer & production), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), Martin Coccolo & Jesus Aburtov (cover artists), Russell Dauterman & Matthew Wilson (Trading card variant cover artist); Arthur Adams & Edgar Delgado; Pepe Larraz (Design variant cover artist), James Stoke (Predator variant cover artist), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
The new X-Men are battling the giant Hex Eternals who are descending on Krakoa. During the battle, Jean Grey telepathically connects with Ikaris of the Eternals, who offers Jean some information about how to stop the Hex Eternals. But in doing so, he will need to help the mutants to get into the Eternals' vault. Ikaris agrees to do so on the proviso that no Eternals are killed. Jean assures him that the X-Men will do their best. Ikaris destroys the technology which will enable the mutants to enter the Eternals' vault, and Forge, Havok, Iceman, Magik, Firestar and Synch journey into the vault where they freeze the insides of the vault, and prevent it from providing energy to the Hex Eternals. Back on Krakoa, Jean Grey finishes off one of the Hex Eternals. Forge takes some of the Eternals' technology with him as the X-Men escape back to Krakoa. The Celestial Progenitor then appears above Krakoa and announces that the X-Men will be judged.
There is never a dull moment for the X-Men. For the better part of the last year, the elected team of super heroes was saving this world and many others from certain doom. Today, the mutants are putting their lives on the line to defend their permanent home in paradise on Krakoa. The Eternals are attempting to eradicate mutants because of a secret mutant technology that can resurrect their dead. Right now, one of the Hex, a subset of Eternals who look like giant machines, are attacking Krakoa. 'Mindlink is up!' Jean Grey exclaims as she telepathically connects the rest of her teammates. 'Thoughts?' Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops as Jean levitates him towards the Eternal in a telekinetic field, as she does with herself, while Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman can be approaching the Eternal on an ice-sled, with Everett Thomas a.k.a. Synch at his side. 'We can't afford to let them establish a beachhead. I don't want to find out the hard way that we can't resurrect the island' Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik remarks as she uses her stepping disks to move closer to the Eternal.
'Agreed all around' Cyclops declares, before asking Forge if he plans on suiting up for this one. 'What can I say, Cyclops? I like to make an entrance' Forge responds as he reclines on a lounge chair on one of Krakoa's beaches, while a large weapon can be seen at his side. 'You can't rush greatness' Forge adds as he pours a liquid into the strange weapon which is a combination of machinery and fleshy tissue. 'She's locked and loaded. Stand clear' Forge reports as he fires the weapon, which makes a loud booming noise, and causes Forge to stumble backwards. 'Woof. I'll have to do something about her report' Forge utters, while the weapon's blast strikes the Eternal. 'What exactly did we just do?' Cyclops asks as he and Jean hover around the Eternal. Forge looks up to the sky as he explains that they are coating the Eternal with tiny machines, and eventually, they will become crystalline, and hopefully in a few minutes the Eternal will be in hibernation.
'One down and a boatload more to go, Forge!' Iceman calls out as he and Synch, who joins up with Iceman's powers, blast the large Eternal, who resembles a large white winged beast, with ice. Forge bangs on the weapon and reports that he is out of magic bullets, as nanites don't grow on trees, at least not yet – he is working on it. Jean looks out to the ocean, where more of the large Eternals can be seen approaching the island. 'We need to stem the flow of Eternals before they make landfall!' Jean exclaims, before telepathically contacting the Eternal called Ikaris.
'I hear you, Jean Grey. I forget how powerful you are to summon me into your mind' Ikaris remarks, before admitting that the Eternals have overlooked mutantdom. 'We must stop this mad war!' Jean tells Ikaris as they connect on the psi-plane. Ikaris informs Jean Grey that the Hex are powerful Eternals, deployed from the armories of their people through subspace connections. 'Kill them and they will only return. It's their supply routes you must strike' Ikaris explains, adding that there is an armory beneath the Earth's crust, and that closest access would be at the bottom of the Pacific, but that there are two problems. 'Firstly, their present power source is the arsenal of Uranos, protected by the endless weapons and machines he stores therein. It may be a suicide mission for any who attempt it' Ikaris informs Jean.
Ikaris continues, revealing to Jean that non-Eternals cannot access the vault, but that he thinks he will be able to help punch her in. He instructs Jean to be ready, and tells her that he will call out to her when it is time to breach. Jean thanks Ikaris, before Ikaris folds his arms across his muscular chest and tells Jean that there is one more thing: 'Kill no Eternals' he warns her. Jean glances back at Ikaris. 'We'll always do our best, but -' Jean begins, before Ikaris glares at her and declares that if the X-Men kill Eternals, he will not help them.
Another of the Eternals from the Hex has arrived at Krakoa, it has a large round body and a series of tentacles and other weapons protruding from it. Cyclops fires an optic blast at the Eternal, assisted by Synch as he announces that he and Jean will hang back with the Avengers and play goalie on Krakoa. 'The rest of you get in position to breach and cut the fuel lines for the Hex!' Jean commands as she extends a telekinetic force field between herself and several other mutants, enabling them to run as the Hex Eternal looms over them. 'I think a change of scale is appropriate!' Iceman shouts as he increases the mass of his body, becoming a towering version of himself large enough to go head-to-head with the Hex Eternal. 'And stay the hell off my island!' Iceman declares as he punches the Eternal, knocking it backwards, while in his other hand, he carries Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok, Angelica Jones a.k.a. Firestar, Magik, Synch and Forge.
Magik remarks that she will need to know where to teleport them to, while Synch reports that he is synced to Forge, and that they have been noodling on that. Forge suggests to Iceman that he take them down, and that as soon as they get close, Synch can use Jean's powers to get a picture of the inside. 'He drops that into your mind and -' Forge starts to say, to which Magik grins and declares '- and I kick the doors off their hinges. Take us down, Bobby!' Iceman suddenly dives down into the depths of the waters around Krakoa, 'Hold on, folks!' he tells his teammates, who he has enased in an ice-sphere. 'This is your captain speaking. Brace for turbulence. We've got one giant Eternal in pursuit!' Iceman announces. 'This might have been a terrible idea' Havok mutters, when suddenly, the Eternal slices Iceman's giant body in half. Iceman screams, and drops the ice sphere containing his teammates. Synch tells Iceman that he is syncing with him to help him maintain these walls around them. 'Much obliged' Iceman responds, while Firestar points out that the Avengers have submarines. 'Why don't the X-Men have submarines?' she asks.
Elsewhere, Ikaris has used his formidable power to assist the X-Men, and telepathically informs them that he has cleared the way, but that they should expect heavy resistance.
'We're already encountering heavy resistance and we're not even close to the bottom!' Synch responds as the Hex Eternal continues to force the ice sphere containing the X-Men downwards under water. Iceman uses his powers to melt his way into the sphere, and suggests that Magik takes them back up if they can't see inside yet. But Synch projects an image of the destruction Ikaris has just caused and tells the others that they are good, as he has skimmed what he needed from Ikaris' mind. 'That's all I need! My turn!' Magik exclaims as she and the others begin to disappear through a stepping disk and she warns them to be ready, as it is a hot landing zone. The X-Men vanish, and not a moment too soon, as the Hex Eternal clamps down on the ice sphere, crushing it deep under water.
The X-Men re-appear within the vault, and defend themselves against some droids. Magik tells the others that the longer they are here, the more danger they are in, and suggests they disrupt the energy flow to the Hex and get out, as she slices her way through one of the droids with her sword. Firestar blasts another with a surge of flame, while Iceman smashes one a large ice fist, Synch uses Cyclops' optic blasts against one of the droids and Havok releases his energy against another. 'Wow. This place is operating with a lot of firepower...and that takes a massive amount of energy' Forge tells the others as he looks up at a large Hex Eternal who appears to be connected to the vault somehow. 'Skip to the end, Brainy' Magik tells him, so Forge remarks that he thinks they should freeze it solid as fast as possible. 'That machine and this entire vault for good measure' he adds.
'Iceman, you're up!' Magik exclaims as she slices her way though more droids. 'We need that engine offline – NOW!' she snaps. 'Since we're on the clock, I'll ice up too' Synch remarks to Iceman as he connects with his powers. 'Welcome to team Omega' Iceman smiles. They begin covering the vault in ice, and Synch tells Iceman that is one thing he can do without – as his life is dangerous enough without being a headliner on Nimrod's hit list. 'Well, speaking from the top of Nimrod's kill list, there's no upper limit to how bummed out I am' Iceman responds, adding that he had hoped Cyclops telling the truth about resurrection would make encounters less aggressive. 'Assuming we all survive the Eternals, maybe everyone will stop trying to kill us – now that they know they can't' Iceman adds as he shoves a large ice-spike through one of the droids.
Suddenly, Synch screams as a droid approaches him from behind and uses a lazer to slice off his right arm. 'If I hadn't been synced to Iceman, I'd have been maimed!' Synch utters as he replaces his severed arm with an ice-arm. He suggests they try and wrap this one up fast, and shoves his ice-arm, which he shifts into an ice-blade, through the droid, remarking that he is worried even with all the mutants up there right now that Krakoa is still going to need the X-Men.
Above, on Krakoa, 'You look like trouble' Jean utters as a large Hex Eternal looms over her. 'You shall not pass!' Jean calls out as she uses her telekinesis to cause the water under the Hex Eternal to become a whirlpool, sucking the Hex Eternal down and washing it back out to sea, where she traps it within a telekinetic field. 'High quality finish, Jean' Cyclops smiles at Jean, giving her the thumbs-up signal. 'Shut up' Jean responds. 'Hey, anything that gets the job done!' Cyclops tells her, before Jean reports that the leeward side of the island is being stormed. 'Let's go. What are date nights for?' Cyclops adds. Jean telepathically contacts Magik and asks her how things are going.
'We need a couple more minutes, Jean!' Magik responds as the mission within the Eternals' vault continues. Magik then suggests to Firestar that she slag some of Iceman's ice, steam up the place for some cover. 'Let's try to be less sitting-ducky' Magik jokes as Forge fires a gun at another droid nearby. 'Got it!' Firestar repsonds as she starts to melt some of the ice, which releases a steam to fog up the area around them. 'It's just like taking orders from Captain America' Firestar mutters quietly to herself. Magik reports that they are taking less fire from drones, before adding that it is becoming much colder. 'Hey, War Cap. Are force protocols enabled? I don't want to go into the Hole' Havok asks. Magik tells him that she doesn't even know if the Five are alive right now. 'That's the only answer I'll give you'. She adds that she doesn't trust Ikaris, before asking Iceman and Synch how things are going.
Iceman continues to encase the facility in ice and tells Magik that it is going slower than he thought, adding that he doesn't know if he could do it without Synch. 'We're pouring it on' Synch adds, before he notices something start to happen. 'We did it. The engine is cold!' Synch calls out as the entire facility is now still, and covered in ice. Iceman declares that they need to make this as impossible to undo as they can – every molecule in this armory needs to feeze. Synch informs Magik that they are on their way back to her, and to be ready for a quick exit. Iceman tells Synch that he hasn't generated this much ice since they terraformed Mars. 'Don't let Magneto hear you use that name' Synch replies as they ride ice-sleds back to the others. Forge examines one of the fallen droids and smiles as he points out that they told Ikaris they wouldn't kill Eternals. 'We didn't tell him we wouldn't loot some ancient technology, did we?' he asks. Magik begins to open a stepping disk and tells Forge to grab any souvenirs now, as they are about to get hit with a glacier of ice. 'Everybody go!' Magik shouts as they leap into the stepping disk, with Iceman coming in last on his ice-sled, while an avalanche of ice follows him.
'Next stop: Limbo... then Krakoa!' Magik exclaims as the X-Men drop through the stepping disk and land back on Krakoa. 'Well, the island still stands' Forge points out, before looking out to the ocean and sees that the Hex Eternals are just leaving. 'Maybe we hurt them more than we thought?' he asks, but Magik thinks something is wrong. Synch, Firestar and Iceman embrace and smile, while Havok asks Magik why something always has to be wrong. 'We just survived a giant monster attack. Let's go see if the Blob is still alive and the Green Lagoon is still standing'. Magik scowls at Havok and asks him if he is kidding: 'I just said “maybe the Five are dead” and you want to go to the bar?' she snaps. 'Well, somebody should check to see if the Blob is alive. That part of my suggestion was good, right?' Havok asks, suggesting that if the Five are dead then they can raise a toast to them.
Suddenly, a blinding light washes over the X-Men and a voice announces 'People of Earth. Listen. You are bickering children. This planet is ruined. You have acted with unrelenting unkindness to one another. You leave me no option. This is your judgment'. The X-Men look up, and Forge asks if the others can see what he sees. 'Yep' Magik confirms. 'Bummer. I was hoping this was a peyote flashback' Forge frowns. The voice then informs the people of Earth that they have 24 hours to justify themselves. 'You will be judged individually. You will be judged as a collective' the voice adds. The voice comes from a large being known as the Progenitor, and announces that if there are more that are just, then they will live – but if they are found lacking, then there will be no tomorrow. 'X-Men...your adjudication has begun!' the Proegenitor declares.
'I've got a few ideas on ways to neutralize a Celestial' Forge remarks, to which Firestar tells him that the being they see is the Celestial at Avengers Mountain. 'It is? Now I really wanna try to cap it!' Forge responds.
Cyclops, Firestar, Forge, Jean Grey, Havok, Iceman, Magik, Synch(all X-Men)
Phebe Reginax, Rheaka Centaurus, Syne the Memotaur, Tetytrona, Themex, Thieaka the Harpiscus (all the Hex)
(in illustrative image)
This issue is followed by X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1.
This issue is part of the A.X.E. Judgment Day event.
Sersi appears on the regular cover to this issue but not in the issue itself.
Firestar served under Captain America on the Avengers over the course of the classic Avengers (3rd series) #4-27.
This issue includes an email from Firestar's father, Bart Jones, sent via the law firm Harris, Oppenheim and Gallager. In the email, Bart explains that he tried to move on from what Emma put Firestar through back when she was younger, and asks Emma what she is playing at this time around.