X-Men (6th series) #20

Issue Date: 
May 2023
Story Title: 
Lord of the Brood, part two

Gerry Duggan (writer), Stefano Caselli (artist), Federico Blee (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer & production), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), Juan Frigeri & David Curiel (cover artists), David Baldeon & Jesus Aburtov (Planet of the Apes variant cover artists), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Jean Grey and Magik locate Broo on Arakko and inform him that the Brood are rampaging. Jean helps Broo discover what has caused the Brood to suddenly turn on him. They learn that Nightmare is responsible, and Nightmare attacks them and Magik. On an unnamed planetoid, Iceman, Firestar, Synch and Talon battle a horde of Brood while trying to load alien refugees onto a spaceship. Cyclops watches over his father, Corsair, who is recovering from a Brood attack, before he prepares the spaceship for take-off. Luckily, the X-Men manage to get the refugees on board, and after a brief incident involving Iceman nearly being separated from the team, they all get safely onboard. However, a number of the aliens have been implanted with Brood eggs, and they begin to transform. In another universe, Forge and Monet are inside the decapitated Celestial head called Knowhere, where they prepare to transport Knowhere, and themselves, back to their own universe. On Krakoa, Emma Frost and Kate Pryde are training in physical combat when Sage learns that a mutant has arrived on Krakoa with her legally recognized human husband. That mutant happens to be Typhoid Mary – and her husband is the Kingpin – who has an arrest warrant out for him issued by Interpol. Emma Frost is very unimpressed.

Full Summary: 

Arakko, first world of the mutant empire, where the young Brood known simply as Broo reclines on a hammock positioned between two trees on a beach. Some time ago, the Jean Grey School had enrollment both from Earth and from beyond – one such special student was Broo, despite not exactly being a mutant, nor from Earth. Today, he is the monarch of the Brood species – his crown is a hat made of Arakki straw. 'You up, Broo?' Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik asks as she stands in front of Broo, who opens his eyes and looks up, seeing Magik and Jean Grey, he asks them why they are here. 'The Brood are rampaging -' Magik begins, to which Jean tells Brood that they are wondering what is wrong, since Broo had previously promised that he was the Brood's monarch unchallenged. 'It's not possible that the Brood are attacking anyone without my consent!' Broo responds.
Broo continues, assuring Jean and Magik that he is in a hive mind with the Brood. 'And if you need a demonstration... have you ever seen the Brood dance before?' Broo asks, as several Brood laying on the beach nearby suddenly stand up, and begin to dance at Broo's command. 'I think you have not!' Broo declares. 'They know the dance from the Thriller video!' an excitable Magik exclaims. Broo yawns as he boasts that his subjects know anything he wants them to. 'I told you I was in control' he adds. Jean asks Broo how he is sleeping, noting that he seems tired, while Magik dances with the Brood nearby. Broo admits that he is a little tired, and explains that he came to Arrako to study their mutant cousins, and that he has been having some nightmares, but he is sure it is just the change of planets. 'New things to be allergic to and so forth' he suggests. Jean tells Broo that she needs him to open her mind to her, but Broo tells Jean Grey that the Brood haven't done anything wrong. 'What if I'd rather not?' Broo asks. 'I wasn't asking' Jean telepathically announces as she narrows her eyes at the alien.
Meanwhile, on a distant planetoid, if it ever had a name, it is lost to the ages. No Nova Corpsman has ever visited. The inhabitants marooned there today call it “Refugee Rock”. And right now, it is under attack by a horde of bloodthirsty Brood. Thankfully, the X-Men are on hand to help as the local inhabitants rush for safety into a nearby spaceship as more Brood descend on the area. 'Covering fire! Literally' Everett Thomas a.k.a. Synch remarks as he copies the abilities of Angelica Jones a.k.a. Firestar, blasting several Brood with powerful funnels of flame, as Firestar does the same to several Brood higher up in the air. 'I hope whoever ship we're “borrowing” is already on board!' Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman calls out as he rides an ice-sled while freezing several of the Brood, to which Laura Kinney a.k.a. Talon suggests that it is more likely they have already been turned by the Brood.
Inside that ship, Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops stands over his unmoving father Christopher a.k.a. Corsair, who is resting on a bed. His near-death experience at the hand of the parasitic Brood has Cyclops angrier than he has been in a long time. Cyclops, unsure if his father can hear him, assures him that they are going to make it out, that they are going to make sure this never happens to anyone else again. Psychically linked to the X-Men, Cyclops informs them that he is on his way to the bridge, and as he takes the controls of the ship, declares that they are leaving the second the last survivor is aboard. 'Punch it even if I'm not aboard. The Brood can't infect my body while I'm ice!' Iceman responds, as Synch tells Cyclops to start the engines, as they are almost all aboard. The Refugee Rock inhabitants close in on the ship, as Firestar and Synch engulf the approaching Brood in a massive fury of flames.
One of the Brood makes it through the flames and leaps towards Iceman, who looks up at the approaching alien and asks 'I guess you didn't hear me?' to which the Brood hisses as it shoves its spiked tail into Iceman's stomach, cracking his ice form. 'You can't hurt me – you can only make me angry!' Iceman scowls as he leaps upwards and shoves a fist into the Brood's eye: 'DIE!' Iceman shouts as he releases ice into the Brood's head and causes it to expand, resulting the Brood freezing from inside out. 'Cyclops was right. We should've ended all of you a long time ago' Iceman remarks.
'We need to take off NOW!' Talon calls out as she slices her claws through another of the Brood. 'Wall is going up!' Iceman reports as he begins to seal off the area by raising an ice-wall to block the approaching Brood. 'We're not leaving you!' Synch calls out as the last of the refugees rush into the ship. 'Trust me! Lift off!' Iceman calls out as he uses his powers to maintain the ice-wall, as Synch, Firestar and Talon begin to board the ship.
'Holy hell, I've never been so cold!' Firestar utters as she steps inside, while Talon reports that they are aboard, and that the door is closing. Synch guides some of the refugees, while Cyclops tells everyone to hang on. 'We'll be back for you, Iceman!' Talon calls out through the closing door as ice hardens around the ship. 'I appreciate the concern, Talon' a voice beyond Talon utters, and Talon turns around, confused as she sees a very small Iceman, only a foot or so in height, standing nearby. Bobby reports that he made it on board, or, at least some of him did, and that he will grow again once he gets access to more moisture. 'Don't worry, it's totally normal for men to suffer from shrinkage in extreme cold' Bobby jokes.
The ship takes off through space. The X-Men didn't save all of the refugees, but they saved everyone they could. That's the job. That's the definition of what it means to serve on the X-Men. 'Nice work, you two' Iceman smiles at Synch and Talon, while the refugees huddle together. 'We've had some experience fighting while retreating' Synch remarks. 'Only half a millennium' Talon jokes. Firestar enters the bridge and finds Cyclops at the controls, asking him how they are doing, she notes that the engines don't sound so great. Cyclops looks over at Firestar and tells her that the ship is a complete mess. He wishes Forge were here, noting they could really use him right now.
But, Forge is in another universe, aboard the floating Celestial head called Knowhere, which has fallen through a black hole as part of a great symbiote war. However, it fell with a Krakoan gateway inside it, and now Knowhere has been comandeered by the X-Men's Forge, and the glamorous Monet St. Croix. Wearing Krakoan battlesuits, Forge and Monet are working on some equipment. 'So, you're absolutely positive that it will only exist for a moment, right?' Monet asks. 'Just like the rest of us, Monet. We all only exist for a moment' Forge responds. 'Whatever' Monet mutters. Looking out a window, she tells Forge that she doesn't want to die, but that if she does, then she doesn't want to take the rest of whatever universe they are stuck in with them. Forge adjusts his battlesuit helmet and assures Monet that if the unforeseen happens, it will be a “little pop” not a “big bang”. 'Well, you did get us back into our correct bodies. On the second try' Monet points out. Forge apologizes for that, noting that this is his first time as a universanaut. 'Now, if you're ready to go... I'll let you do the honors of activating it' Forge tells Monet, adding that the baby black hole will only exist for an eighth of a second – and then they will be home.
Back on Arakko, Jean Grey has delved deeper into Broo's mind, to his memories of his time at the Jean Grey School, to when he was made monarch of the Brood. She sees Broo sitting with some of his classmates – Kid Gladiator, Kid Omega, Shark-Girl, Eye-Boy, Sprite, Morph and Oya – as Wolverine and Kitty Pryde talk to them. The hive mind has responded to Broo's every whim. The Brood needed to feed and reproduce. Finally, the Brood had a moral compass guiding their physical needs. 'Kill the slavers!' Broo ordered the Brood, making sure that the right souls were picking up the bill for every meal – as there was a cost. For the last few months, the Brood have been a force for good in the universe, and Broo was not modest about his success, as he was celebrated by some aliens whom the Brood freed from their enslavers, and Broo told the grateful aliens to tell everyone that Broo of the Brood liberated them.
'See, Jean? That memory of boarding the slave ship is recent and not tampered with in the slightest' Broo tells Jean as she examines his memories, adding that he has spent every waking moment trying to target folks worthy of a visit from the Brood. 'You're like cosmic-horror Dexter' Magik jokes. 'I don't know who that is' Broo responds, before remarking that if Dexter is a mutant they like, then he will take it as a compliment. 'Yes, every waking moment... and what happens when you're asleep, Broo?' Jean asks. Broo admits that he doesn't know, and reveals that he hasn't been sleeping well. 'And I've been having a lot of -' he begins, before Jean tells him to sleep, and she uses her powers on him to force him to sleep. Broo drops to his knees, snoring softly, while Jean goes wide-eyed as someone laughs wickedly nearby. 'Oh no, not you!' Jean exclaims inside Broo's dreamscape. 'Nightmare!' she gasps as the powerful demon appears before Jean, Magik and Broo, riding his horse, Dreamstalker.
Nightmare grins and announces that he has a score to settle. 'You put your disgusting mortal hands on me' he reminds Jean. 'Uh, who is this?' Broo asks. 'A demon. I know one when I see one' Magik declares. 'Jean, Jean, Jean. This is for Halloween!' Nightmare exclaims as he slaps Jean across her face, causing her to fall backwards. Magik raises her sword, but Nightmare declares that he will have no interruptions from the gallery while he is in his spotlight, and fires a blast towards Magik, who uses her sword to absorb the blast. 'May I introduce you to my sword? It loves to eat magic' Magik remarks. 'I think not' Nightmare responds as he waves his hands, and glowing chains appear, wrapping around Magik. 'You've got other struggles, unfortunately' Nightmare adds, before asking Magik 'You know that fear you're too scared to even give voice to? Well, it's going to come true soon, Illyana. It's going to course through your veins' Nightmare utters.
Dozens of Brood gather around Nightmare as he tells Jean Grey that he has been busy, and that he can be quite nosy when he wants. He reveals that he crept through the dreams of thousands of mutants on their freakshow island, and that he had a fun idea to sleepwalk Polaris into crashing every plane on Earth or disrupting the planet's core, but that seemed so boring. He explains that it was then he found Broo, the runt of his species who was given control of the hive mind. 'Well, that's the stuff of nightmares' Nightmare jokes. He adds that as the Brood rampage across the stars, he will make sure that the nightmares of every race are filled with visions of the true horror behind it all – the so-called rulers of Sol, blamed for this new annihilation wave.
'NEVER! The X-Men will stop you!' Broo screams, but Nightmare pulls Dreamstalker back, the horse rises up on its hind legs, Nightmare kicks Broo in the face. 'They won't, and neither will you' Nightmare states, remarking that the Brood have multiple monarchs, and already they have Captain Marvel and other mutant friends in their clutches. 'The X-Men? You'd laugh if you knew what they were doing right now' Nightmare adds. 'They're saving everyone they can – that's the job. And you're using that against us, aren't you?' Jean calls out. Nightmare grins and tells Jean that she is quite right. 'You mutants have such... good hearts. Boring ones, too. But good hearts are so easy to manipulate' Nightmare remarks, before confirming that the X-Men are working for him at the moment – taking refugees that are ticking time bombs into new worlds for the Brood to conquer. 'Did you know that the Brood dream too? I've given them the dream of conquest. Mutants changed the very subatomic structure of the universe – such things are dangerous. And these horrid bugs that usually skitter through ducts of ships will be free to roam everywhere. While refugees aboard the spaceship begin to look confused, some of them clutching at their own throats, Brood dream of traveling through Krakoan gateways to take over the Earth. 'Oh, God. We can't let these monsters have access to the gates!' Jean Grey exclaims.
Meanwhile, on Krakoa: 'You're not gonna believe the monsters that just came through a gate on Krakoa... I need to alert the Council, but I'm giving you a head's up now, Emma' Sage telepathically remarks as she communicates with Emma Frost while stationed at her observation booth, keeping track of the comings and goings of the Krakoan gateways. 'A mutant arrived to the island for the first time with her legally recognized husband. Emma mutters, asking if they are throwing them a gala, too. Emma is on the shore of Krakoa, engaged in physical training with Kate Pryde, the two using battle staves, while Emma instructs Sage to welcome the mutant and her husband, show them where the biome flowers are, and that unless the husband is Doctor Doom or one of the other various miscreants who love to flaunt their fake doctorates, then to tell them to enjoy themselves. 'I'm currently sparring and getting a royal ass-handing by a woman I tried to recruit as a student' Emma complains. 'You're multitasking a telepathic conversation, aren't you?' Kate asks, reminding Emma that she was trained as a ninja.
Suddenly: 'Wheee!' Typhoid Mary exclaims as she cartwheels up behind Sage, who telepathically informs Emma that it is not Doctor Doom. 'I'm Mary, and I like you' Typhoid Mary' smiles as she leans on Sage's shoulders, and waves her sword in front of Sage's face. 'But he might have been preferable?' Sage asks Emma, while Mary announces that she already loves it here, and asks 'Will we live in a tree, too?' Sage looks over as Mary's husband approaches her – 'Tell Emma Frost that I have arrived and that... Wilson Fisk claims Krakoan citizenship by marriage to Typhoid Mary' the Kingpin grins wickedly.
The Kingpin's arrival distracts Emma, who is tripped up by Kate. 'C'mon, I'm not even sweating, Emma' Kate complains. '#^(% my live' Emma snarls.

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Firestar, Forge, Jean Grey, Iceman, Magik, Synch, Talon (all X-Men)
Emma Frost, Kate Pryde, Penance, Sage

Kingpin & Typhoid Mary


Refugee Rock inhabitants

(in flashback images)
Kitty Pryde, Wolverine (both Jean Grey School faculty)
Broo, Eye-Boy, Kid Gladiator, Kid Omega, Morph II, Oya, Shark-Girl, Sprite III (all Jean Grey School students)


Story Notes: 

This story takes place after Captain Marvel (8th series) #42-46.
Broo joined the Jean Grey School in Wolverine & the X-Men (1st series) #1.
Monet refers to Forge getting them back in their correct bodies on the second try. This probably refers to the two of them discovering versions of themselves lying near death outside the Krakoan gateway when they arrived on Knowhere in X-Men (6th series) #19.
Jean Grey battled Nightmare in X-Men (6th series) #4.
Emma's comment about Typhoid Mary being the first mutant to arrive at Krakoa with their legally recognized husband is not entirely correct, as Northstar and his human husband have lived on Krakoa since it was first settled.
This issue includes a copy of an Interpol arrest warrant for Wilson Fisk, noting that he is a fugitive from justice charged with the murder of Matt Murdock, incitement of riot, witness tampering, electioneering, tax fraud and making false statements to investigators. A reward of $250,000 has been posted.
“Dexter” refers to the TV show Dexter (based on the novels by Jeff Lindsay) about a serial killer who only kills other murderers.

Written By: