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Gerry Duggan (writer), C.F. 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); Elena Casagrande & Jordie Bellaire (Stormbreakers variant cover artists), Joshua Cassara & Dean White (variant cover artists), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
The Beast meets with the Quiet Council to express how displeased he is that there are now two versions of Laura Kinney in the same timeline. The Laura who was rescued from the Vault has rejoined the X-Men, and with her partner Synch is en route to Detroit, because she wants to speak with her duplicate, who is in Detroit with the other X-Terminators, dealing with a vampire problem. The duplicate isn't too impressed that the true Laura has returned, and makes it very clear that she is keeping the Wolverine codename. Synch works with the rest of the X-Terminators to take out some vampires, while the two Lauras attempt to set aside their differences. It is not entirely successful, and the real Laura tells her duplicate that she doesn't want to be friends or even see her around Krakoa. Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman and Firestar respond to a distress call from an Orchis space station which is in danger, and despite the fact that Orchis hate mutants, they rescue some human Orchis operatives from death. Jean Grey then arrives at the Quiet Council meeting and tells the Beast that he has spent too long in the dark and will simply need to accept that there are two Lauras now, as they simply cannot turn their back on the real Laura after everything she went through in the Vault. In deep space, Corsair finds himself under attack by the Brood – and with a Brood egg inside of him ready to hatch!
'Just to be clear... Laura Kinney a.k.a. Wolverine was thought to have perished covering Synch's escape from the Vault. Then she was prioritized for the resurrection protocols. Now the Children of the Vault – an existential threat not just to mutantdom but perhaps all life on Earth – have just spit out the original Laura Kinney whom we thought was dead...and instead of doing our due diligence on a “too good to be true” tale, she is instead ensconced on the current X-Men roster' Dr. Henry McCoy a.k.a. the Beast summarises as he sits near Emma Frost at the Quiet Council's secret meeting place. The Beast laughs and calls the Quiet Council “rubes” before asking where Laura Kinney is now. Emma Frost frowns at the Beast and replies 'Presumably... out doing X-Men things'.
Indeed, Everett Thomas a.k.a. Synch smiles as he looks at Laura Kinney as he telekinetically propels them through the air above a city using powers borrowed from Jean Grey. Synch asks Laura if she is sure she wants him to stay around for this, to which Laura tells him that she has been alone long enough, and as they drop down near a large abandoned, run down building, Laura asks what “Baby Laura” is doing in Detroit. 'Uh, you know yourself better than anyone... and I wouldn't let your younger self hear you call her that' Synch replies. 'Heh' Laura laughs, looking up at the abandoned building, she asks Everett if he didn't think they would be able to sneak up on Laura, and notes that the wind just shifted. 'She knows I'm here. Her mind is already reeling from what it means' Laura remarks.
Synch explains that the other Laura has been helping Dazzler and Jubilee with some kind of vampire situation, and they notice the other Laura sitting on a window sill high up on the building. 'Hey, kiddo. We got a lot to talk about' Laura calls out to her duplicate, who doesn't look down as she replies 'Kiddo? Who am I now? Gabby?' The older Laura replies that she has lost count of how old she is. 'You're all Gabbys to me' she adds. The younger Wolverine sniffs the air as she picks up a scent and tells her “guests” that now is not a good time to chat. She quickly turns as a large vampire creature breaks through the window, and then bites down on Wolverine's shoulder.
Synch and the older Wolverine rush into the building and are confronted by a startling situation. 'I've never been to a Dazzler concert. Is this what they're normally like?' he asks. 'Hnnh' Wolverine responds as a pink hologram mask appears over her face. Flashes of light radiate throughout the foyer of the building, where Alison Blaire a.k.a. Dazzler, Jubilation Lee a.k.a. Jubilee and Tabby Smith a.k.a. Boom-Boom are battling vampires, one of whom screams as Dazzler's lights burn it. 'Sorry, vamp. If you didn't want to explode from the inside out, maybe you shouldn't have attacked my fans before a concert' Dazzler suggests as she roller skates through a puddle of blood. 'Yeah, Dazzler needs fans – each one is precious!' Jubilee jokes. 'Just kidding!' she calls out as she blasts a vampire with her fireworks powers.
The younger Wolverine appears from above, holding the decapitated head of the large vampire who attacked her. 'Hey, Dazzler! Alley-oop!' she calls out as she throws the head towards Synch – but Dazzler blasts it before the head can hit Synch. 'Another vampire – Dazzled!' Dazzler jokes. The young Wolverine turns to her older counterpart and explains that Dazzler was on tour, and that some of her fans went missing, so she asked for help – and they have discovered the main nest beneath them. Wolverine tells the younger version that she won't slow her down, but she thought they should talk. 'Your cap fell off, Laura' Jubilee jokes as she puts a Santa hat on an unimpressed Wolverine's head.
Jubilee leads the way down a tunnel, with Synch, both Wolverines, Dazzler and Boom-Boom following her. Jubilee calls out to Boom-Boom and tells her to load up a big one, and to fire it down the tunnel ahead of them. 'I guess we're not sneaking up on them' the older Wolverine remarks. Jubilee turns back to both Wolverines and tells them 'You two are a trip. Hologram-helmet-girl is obviously from the future. More X-Men time-travel shenanigans?' she asks. No one answers, and Jubilee blows some bubblegum – which the older Laura quickly pops when she shoves a claw into the bubble. 'Uggh. Future Laura is feral' Jubilee complains, wiping the gum from around her mouth.
The group comes to a stop at the edge of a platform, while the younger Wolverine looks around and remarks 'They're in every direction'. The older Wolverine notes that there are three tunnels ahead, and Jubilee complains that they already rinsed so many vamps. 'Yeah, how many of them could be left?' Tabby asks. 'Dozens' Synch announces as he uses telepathic powers which he has access to by still being synced to Jean Grey. 'Well la-di-da' Tabby mutters. 'Okay, we stay together and -' Tabby begins, but the younger Wolverine declares 'No' and the older Wolverine tells the others to stay together, as the two of them have business. The younger Wolverine heads off down one tunnel, while the older follows her.
Meanwhile, in orbit above Earth, 'Mayday, mayday! Can anybody read us? This is Orchis Station declaring an emergency!' a distress call comes out from one of the Orchis space stations. Orchis workers can be seen on deck trying to put out a plasma fire, while the distress call reports that the fire is spreading to the welding equipment, and if it ignites, the entire station could be lost. 'GET CLEAR – IT'S GONNA BLOW!' someone shouts as before the explosion is suddenly sucked up through a hole which appears above. Several Orchis operatives are sucked through, too. 'We're being vented into space!' someone calls out in distress.
'Orchis Station, this is the X-Men...we'll be saving the fascists you just vented into space' Scott summers a.k.a. Cyclops remarks via communicator, while Angelica Jones a.k.a. Firestar pilots the X-Men's jet. Cyclops tells her to be careful on the thrusters, as they are more responsive than she might think. 'You're not kidding' Firestar replies, before informing Jean Grey and Iceman that the air lock is closed and the ramp is down for them to deploy. As the jet hovers in space, Jean Grey and Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman emerge down a ramp, with Jean surrounding herself with a telekinetic field, as Bobby ice-sleds out. Jean remarks that she will grab the Orchis soldiers, while Bobby reports that he will see about the hull breach on the station, and asks Jean if they are going to regret saving these goons. 'Probably. But you know the job...save as many lives as we can every time out. Even the ones who wish us harm' Jean replies as she surrounds the floating Orchis operatives in telekinetic bubbles to protect them from space.
'Will they even thank us for this?' Iceman wonders as he uses his powers to create a massive amount of ice which plugs the hole in the Orchis station. 'You're welcome, by the way! Good luck with your doomsday nonsense!' Iceman tells some of the Orchis operatives, before suggesting that they need an Occupational Safety & Health Administration up here. When the crew who were ejected into space are returned safely to the station, one of the Orchis agents contacts control, and reports that the crew have been rescued by the X-Men. 'So don't, uh...fire on their ship' they add. Cyclops tells the Orchis agents that it is lucky the X-Men were in transit below when they heard the Mayday, and asks them what this facility is for. 'Uh, it's -' one of the agents begins, before another of them snaps 'Don't say anything'. 'Well, we'll leave you to your orbital death trap. Good luck, and I hope you remember – they were mutant hands that caught you when you fell today' Cyclops remarks as he and the other X-Men depart.
Back on Earth, the two Wolverines find themselves in a tunnel where dozens of red eyes peer out through the darkness. Well, we put ourselves right where these vamps want us' the duplicate Wolverine remarks. The original Wolverine asks her if she's sure there isn't another way. 'We tried. Even consulted with the healers on Krakoa. But for these vampires...it's kill or starve to death' the duplicate Wolverine reveals. A huge vampire leaps from the shadows towards the Wolverines, screeching at them. Both Wolverines have already popped their claws, and the duplicate asks 'So...what'd you want to discuss?' to which the original suggests it would be rude not to talk, and set up a few rules. 'That's good. We wouldn't want our lives to get weird, right?' the duplicate asks as she leaps upwards and slices the vampire's head off, while the original Wolverine cuts the vampire through its middle and tells her duplicate that she doesn't seem surprised to see her. 'I'm not' the duplicate responds.
The duplicate Wolverine's boot claws slice through another vampire, as she asks the original 'You know what my first thought was after I was resurrected?' and reveals that she wanted to see the body. More sliced up vampire parts fall to the ground, as the duplicate remarks that they had already been used so much, before one of the vampires grabs her arm and bites down. But the vampire screams as its teeth suddenly shatter. 'They resurrected you with a full adamantium skeleton, huh?' Wolverine asks as she decapitates the vampire. 'Does everyone get one now?' Wolverine then jokes as the duplicate kicks a vampire that was creeping up on the original. 'Proteus isn't exactly strong on details. Or he is, but he has ADHD' the duplicate replies. Blood splatters around the large room as the Wolverines unleash their fury against the vampires. 'You know if something...goes bad for one of us, they'll only bring one of us back' the duplicate reveals. 'Hadn't thought about it... but I figure I've got seniority' the original replies.
'Tell you what. You keep it. I don't plan on dying' the duplicate declares as she shoves her claws into a vampire's neck and finds herself drenched in blood. 'That's the spirit' the original tells her as she plunges her claws into a vampire's face. These women have one thing in common – they didn't ask for any of this. The X-Gene, the claws or the metal. They're down in tunnels fighting vampires so their friends don't have to. Wolverines are like that. The duplicate looks at the original and announces that she is claiming the name Wolverine. 'It's mine' she states. 'Fair enough' the original responds, deciding that she has been Wolverine long enough. The two Laura turn to each other and shake hands, before the original Laura turns and walks away. She suddenly stops, and tells her duplicate that she is happy she will get to live a different life. 'This isn't personal...but I don't want to be your friend...I don't even want to see you' she adds. 'I wasn't asking to hang out' the duplicate replies.
Outside, Synch, Jubilee, Boom-Boom and Dazzler are waiting for the Wolverines. 'What do you think of the name X-Terminators?' Jubilee asks Synch, informing him that if they make this official that is what they are calling themselves. 'Maybe we'll vote in the new members at the Gala' she jokes. 'Cool' Synch tells his longtime friend. 'Think you've got what it takes to be one of us?' Jubilee asks as she blows another bubble. 'I'd be the star of the show, Jubilee' Synch smiles as he uses telekinesis to pop the bubble, causing it to splat over her mouth. 'That's cheating, Everett!' Jubilee snaps. The Wolverines arrive, and the original announces that they are done here. 'It was good to hang out with you. You guys off to do X-Men stuff?' Jubilee asks as Synch uses telekinesis to take flight, carrying Laura with him. 'You know it. See ya round' Synch calls back.
Later, at the Treehouse, clothes lay scattered across the floor of Synch's quarters, while Synch and Laura embrace in bed.
'You want to know where Wolverine is now? Presumably doing X-Men things' Emma Frost remarks back on Krakoa, when she and Sebastian Shaw turn as Jean Grey arrives through a Krakoan gateway. 'Ah, what fortuitous timing. Jean is here. Perhaps she can shed some light on the current inquiries' Emma calls out. Jean telepathically thanks Emma for the head's up, to which Emma, while examining her fingernails, simply tells Jean that they women must stick together. The Beast looks up at Jean and declares that he can't be the only one to think that this is simply too good to be true. 'Yes, Hank. You are' Jean responds, before announcing that she is clearing Wolverine. 'And even if she could gool me, could she fool Synch? They spent hundreds of years together, every day, simply fighting to survive' Jean points out.
Jean tells the Beast that he may think Laura's return is “too good to be true” because he no longer believes that good things can happen. 'You've spent too long in the dark and it's...damaged your heart' Jean utters. Jean narrows her eyes at the Beast and reminds him that Laura Kinney was sent on an impossible mission, and that she did what a Wolverine does – she survived, and now she is back where she belongs. 'I ask you with love in my heart: Are you where you belong, Hank?' Jean asks. The Beast frowns and tells Jean Grey that if he is as lost as she clearly thinks he is, then he might tell her that the X-Men were fools to provide assistance to Orchis today. Jean is annoyed by this, and simply responds by telling Hank that those are souls who will never forget who was responsible for saving their lives. 'That cannot be a bad thing'.
In space, the ship called the Starjammer seems to float aimlessly. On board, bodies lay strewn about blood-soaked floors and walls. 'Well, this is bad' Captain Corsair remarks as he begins his log. 'To my dear sons...the ones I know about and the ones I never did...I know I wasn't always there for you. Or really there for you at all. I know you know it wasn't always my fault, but I still carry that guilt' Corsair announces. He recalls that the Summers boys always forgave his failings, and tells them that he is proud of them, that he wants them to know he adores the big swings they have taken, and joining them for Sunday dinners on the old moon – they were a joy. Corsair holds a gun in one hand, and states that he won't be able to make those Sunday dinners anymore. 'We engaged the enemy...and they kicked ten shades out of us. I'm down to my last round... and it's for me'. Corsair is on his knees. Deadly aliens with sharp teeth and red eyes leer at him through the shadows. They are called the Brood. And Corsair has been impregnated with a Brood egg. 'Protect your families – the Brood are coming!' Corsair shouts.
Cyclops, Firestar, Jean Grey, Iceman, Wolverine III (all X-Men)
Boom-Boom, Dazzler, Jubilee, Wolverine III (duplicate) (all X-Terminators)
Emma Frost, Sebastian Shaw (both Quiet Council)
(in flashback images)
Synch, Wolverine III
Wolverine III (Vault version)
Children of the Vault
Wolverine III and Synch, along with Darwin, entered the Vault in X-Men (5th series) #5. Their adventures were chronicled in X-Men (5th series) #18-19, resulting in Synch escaping the Vault and Wolverine III being resurrected, following the belief she was killed in the Vault. X-Men (6th series) #16-17 established that Wolverine III was never killed in the Vault, simply held in stasis. She was brought back to reality, meaning the Wolverine III resurrected in X-Men (5th series) #19 is in fact a duplicate.
This issue includes a memo from X-Force's Beast to Krakoa's senior leadership, detailing the new Orchis station called the Bloom.