X-Men: Before the Fall – Mutant First Strike #1

Issue Date: 
August 2023
Story Title: 
Mutant First Strike

Steve Orlando (writer), Valentina Pinti (artist), Frank William (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Travis Lanham (letterer), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), David Baldeon & Israel Silva (cover artists), Lucas Werneck (Stormbreakers variant cover artist), Oscar Vega (variant cover artist), Jay Bowen (production), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

A small town called Granite in Milford, New Hampshire, is devastated by a bomb, in what Orchis and other anti-mutant organizations are dubbing a “Krakoan dirty bomb”. The small town is suffering, with natural resources damaged, buildings and infrastucture destroyed and residents in chaos. They need medicine, supplies and help – which they receive in the form of a large Krakoan Response Team, consisting of some two dozen mutants who all have abilities need for rescue, recovery and stabilization. Orchis agent Judas Traveller heads this operation and sends a group of Watchdogs to cause further problems for the mutants. Several mutants begin investigating the source of the bomb, while others rescue trapped civilians. Cyclops, Archangel and Monet keep the Watchdogs under wraps, until Jean Grey ascertains that the Watchdogs too are merely pawns of Orchis. The Krakoan Response Team support the town's mayor with media and communications while some of the Krakoans are able to start rebuilding the town and restoring the natural resources. With the town in good state, the anti-mutant media and other organizations continue to promote the Krakoans for being responsible for the attack.

Full Summary: 

The Granite Town. Milford. New Hampshire. United States. North America. Earth. People go about their daily lives in this small, quiet town. Walking with children, meeting friends at a cafe, walking their dogs, visiting relatives, avoiding a rat in the street. Suddenly, there is a massive explosion which rips through the town.

'Our hearts go out to Milford – latest victim of mutant aggression. Where will it stop, folks – we all felt it, right? When they declared themselves gods?' a reporter asks, while footage of an powerful blast occurring at Milford is shown on a screen behind the reporter. 'When they dangled vital medicines as carrots and didn't even try to hide the stick? When their teen terrorist Nature Girl attacked our cities? When their unhinged Thunderbird ransacked an innocent police station?' the reporter asks. Another reporter appears on a screen and asks if Milford is just next in line, and whether it was chosen for its long-solved environmental issues, or if it was simpler – was it just spite? 'After all... doesn't every god need a flood now and then to remind us he's in charge?' the second reporter asks, adding that this was no flood – reporters are in, and this was a coordinated hit.

'They're calling it a Krakoan dirty bomb. A mutant suicide attack' another reporter states, revealing that physical, electromagnetic and viral hell was unleashed on this well-meaning town, and thanks to mutant resurrection, people are asking if the bomber is even truly dead. 'Do they even need to make a sacrifice to hurt us?' the reporter frowns.

Meanwhile, on the mutant nation of Krakoa, Lucas Bishop appears before the Quiet Council. Ten of the twelve seats currently occupied, Bishop reports that the power is out, communications are dead, food is spoiling and diseases are spreading, not to mention there is flooding and emergency services are down. Bishop announces that it is not good in Milford, and that it is getting worse at an accelerated rate. 'A pity those simple folk weren't better prepared in this dangerous day and age' Sebastian Shaw mutters. Bishop tells Shaw that people are suffering, fast and hard. 'And every second has our names on it' he stresses.

Bishop hands Professor Charles Xavier a file and tells him that they have to face it – either a mutant did this, or it was made to look like a mutant did it. 'This isn't the time to circle up. I'd like to field a team. Lead the response' Bishop adds.

Xavier remarks that he agrees, and looking around, notes that he sees no one but Shaw opposed to Krakoa's Captain Commander saving lives. Shaw rolls his eyes as Xavier quotes one of the laws of Krakoa: “murder no man” and points out that counts  even by inaction. 'Our laws stand. The big guns are yours, Bishop. Your orders are simple. Help them. If we are to be gods... we must be benevolent ones'.

Milford, where buildings lie in rubble. Civilians line up outside a pharmacy. Police officers shield themselves behind upturned police cars while thugs attack them. An old white man aims a gun at a group who approach his help. People have scrawled “HELP, need medicine and water!” onto the road.

'Okay, Krakoans... this is more than a Marauders activation. This is all hands on deck. It's only been hours. But the damage is more like what you'd see weeks on. These people are hurting. More and sooner, than usual. They're scared. They're confused. They're angry... angry at us. And they're right to be – they've been hit hard. But they've got to know... got to be shown, especially now... when they see the red-and-white X... it means help is on the way' Bishop tells his Krakoan Response Team, most of whom wear the standard blue and white costume with a large red X across the uniform's jacket.

Bishop leads the way out of the X-Jet that hovers above Milford, and following him are Jean Grey, Storm, Cyclops, Iceman, Penance, Tempo, Triage and Angel - the only one of the group who doesn't wear the response team costume, but his classic red costume with large white X.

At that moment, aboard the Bloom, in orbit around the Earth, where Judas Traveller watches various monitors depicting an assortment of news reports on the attack on Mildord. He turns to one of the Orchis operatives in the room and asks for a report. The Orchis operative states that it is five hours since detonation in Milford, and that Orchis' custom X-Gene is delivering. Infrastructure, sanitation, health and safety are all critical. Viral agents are active, and everything has been accelerated by Orchis' chronokinetic plug-in. 'Time is not on Krakoa's side' the operative adds, before revealing that satellite feeds show a response team has formed, as predicted. 'And you should know, Agent Traveller. Even with all we've done... predictive algorithms show Krakoa can still solve this disaster. Within a day. Maybe less'. Judas Traveller smirks and replies 'Let them. Milford is just a stop on the road – our target is in sight. But to your point, officer – now that my fellow mutants have arrived... let's call in the dogs'.

Back in Milford, Heather Tucker a.k.a. Tempo picks up a skull as she examines some rubble. Cerebra floats near her, while Tempo's partner, the Threshold mutant called Theia, creates a force-field which surrounds several civilians nearby. Tempo is linked telepathically to the others and reports that she is leading CSI, and that they have found remains at the blast's epicenter. Tempo adds that Cerebra confirms the remains are mutant, and that Bishop was right – the attacker's genes are emitting a temporal nudge, making days of disaster out of hours. Tempo announces that she has canceled the nudge, and now time is flowing normally. But even so, folks here are about as happy as one would expect. Tempo reports that Theia has a gravity wall up for the civilians' safety, but decides that they deserve to know the facts. 'Who attacked them?' Tempo asks, turning to Cerebra.

Cerebra examines the skull and reports that the genetics here are piecemeal, they are looking at a custom X-Gene, assembled sloppily – it wasn't meant to last and is degrading quickly. Tempo reports that she can get Cerebra a better look at it, and asks for a second to turn back the minutes. Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops joins interjects and tells Tempo that seconds might be too big of an ask. He reports that he is at the town line, where they have idiots charging the perimeter. 'Don't you muties know the first rule of trespassing? BEWARE OF DOG!' one of the Watchdogs shouts as he rides into the town center on a sky-cycle, followed by other Watchdogs both on motorcycle and on foot. 'Noted' Cyclops responds to the Watchdog's warning, opening fire with an optic blast directed straight towards the Watchdogs.

'Their anger is like thunder. But they're not local' Jean Grey reports, referring to the Watchdogs while hovering over a mob of angry civilians. Jean reveals that the Watchdogs are here to guard the town from the Krakoan Response Team. Monet St. Croix is keeping watch over another group of civilians and tells Jean that the Watchdogs want to get in the way, to pour gasoline on the fire. 'And any one of these people could have tipped them off' Monet points out. 'Or they saw the news, M. Regardless, they're here, and they're dangerous' Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm remarks as she hovers in the air above Milford, lighting crackling around her as she announces that she has dispersed the biotoxin gas, however Milford is far from healed. Bishop is on the ground, absorbing some troublesome energies and he remarks that he agrees with Storm – the Watchdogs are just another item on the list, and relief can't stop because of a few misinformed out-of-towners. 'It won't, Bishop. Ping the reserves for search and rescue. Monet and I will back up Cyclops – I'm sure we can scare off a few dogs' Warren Worthington III remarks as he flies out of a building carrying an elderly woman. 'Don't just scare them, Angel. Remove them. The Watchdogs are not the ones owed our attention' Storm suggests.

Tempo continues to hold the skull, and asks Cerebra if she reads anything more from it, adding that subjective time on the genetics should be pre-explosion. Cerebra reveals that she can't pick up anything good – the DNA is patchwork, and young, only a few days old. She detects self-detonation, chronokinesis, bacteriopathy, technokinesis and electromagnetism, but little memory and basic thought. 'A living weapon. Almost as if -' Cerebra begins, before a wide-eyed Tempo realizes that it was as if the mutant was created for this. 'Made...to die? A ruse like that would give even the Unbreathing pause...' Theia's voice trails off, to which Tempo tells her that cruelty is easy, especially when it's faceless. Tempo adds that a skull is a skull, and pushing it back in time won't regrow the skin and muscle. 'But you could read it...network everyone here, and show us all what he really looked like' Tempo suggests.

The plan works, and an image of a young man is projected from the skull, which Tempo holds up to the civilians behind the gravity field, and tells them that if she were them, she wouldn't trust the Krakoans either, and she isn't asking them to – but she is asking them to see this. 'We all lost something today. All of us' Tempo utters. She holds the skull above her head, 'A boy. Dead against his will. It's easy to hate a skull – but look at him. Hear us out. Let us help you. Let us hunt down the truth!' Tempo exclaims, suggesting that they can be angry at the right people – together.

'Do-don't hurt me!' a civilian pleads as John Proudstar a.k.a. Thunderbird rips some debris up off the trapped civilian. 'Relax, brah. I'm banking the pain for whoever really hit this place' Thunderbird tells the man, while projecting his thoughts to Tempo, telling her that something feels familiar. 'Once I open this can – I'm coming your way' he adds.

Nearby, Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman has created some blocks of ice, and several dogs lick the ice blocks. Bobby reports to the other Krakoans that he has got the reservoir frozen shut so the rebuilders come through. Bobby adds that he has made many new friends, and they say he is cool. Christopher Muse a.k.a. Triage is keeping watch over several civilians, while medics assist with injuries. He tells Iceman that pups are immune to puns. 'Respectfully – you're still an icon' Triage adds, before reporting that he is about wrapped with the condition criticals, but that he can't help the dead. 'The explosion was dirty. Half the town's sick or infectious'

'Sick but en route, Triage' Xuan Cao Manh a.k.a. Karma points out as she uses her power to direct civilians to safety. Karma adds that Tag is uniquely suited for evacuation, and Brian Cruz a.k.a. Tag can be seen helping people out of a bus which had crashed onto its side. Tag remarks that he had never thought of making a car or a building “it” before, but that he is glad to help. Karma reports that she has the complex extractions covered. 'We're clearing blocks fast' Karma declares. Bishop helps a trapped civilian to safety and tells Karma she is doing good work, while adding that no Watchdogs have breached downtown, and ask what his sitrep is on the line.

Cyclops unleashes another powerful optic blast, while Angel has transformed to Archangel, and hovers above him, as Monet in her Penance form slashes her way through several of the Watchdogs, taking them out. 'Damn muties can steal a planet outta the sky – but Earth's under out watch! So're these people! And these dogs bite!' one of the Watchdogs shouts.

Cyclops informs Bishop that the situation is less than idea, to which Archangel asks him what he means. 'I'm almost nostalgic for the old slurs – keep things simple' Archangel remarks, but Scott tells him that they can't let the Watchdogs make this a marketing event for their milita, as the last thing these people need to see is mutant ultra-violence. Penance slashes through a motorcycle and declares that blood is one thing, but that they should not hide who they are – even now. 'Now more than ever, in fact. That's what they need to see. Deadly or not, these are our hands – and they're open' Penance snaps.

'My god – it's him!' a civilian utters as Thunderbird approaches a group of people gathered together behind the gravity field. 'The one who destroyed those cops' a woman adds. 'Not too good at the quiet part, are ya?' Thunderbird frowns. 'We – we didn't mean to insult you, Mister Bird' another woman calls out. 'It's just – was that not you?' another enquires. 'Damn right. Beat those tools within an inch of their lives. But I left 'em that inch. An' if ya'd like to keep more than that – you'll stay calm, gravity wall or not!' Tempo looks over at Thunderbird: 'Subtle' she mutters. Thunderbird looks at the skull and remarks that he is not here to charm folks, and asks if this skull has some kind of broken X-Gene. Tempo explains that it is unstable, made not to last but collapse – explosively. Thunderbird reveals that the Heritage Foundation was buying native X-Genes. 'Good fer a con. Or a false flag' he points out, suggesting that they could be responsible for this, as it's definitely their style. 'Much as I like ta throw down... s'like my grandmother said. Right now, we're the face of all mutants. Thunderbird begins to crush the skull between his hands, while Tempo and Cerebra look on, shocked. 'And if we lose our heads with the Watchdogs... we'll only be helping their cause' Thunderbird declares.

'Your place is not here' Storm calls out as she flies over to the head Watchdog, who is high up in the air on his sky-cycle. 'I'm the Lead Dog, lady! You think you're so superior – don't you?' the angry man calls out. 'It's never enough for you – first a school, then a country, then your pity medicines – to show us we can't live without you. But we can. And Milford? Attacking American soil was too far!' the Lead Dog snarls. Down below, Bobby reports that there are some dogs rushing the fence. 'But, hey! It's a nice cooldown!' he adds as he throws up an ice-shield to protect some people in a car. 'Go ahead! Kill me like you did this town's fathers and sons!' a Watchdog calls out as Bishop grabs him by his throat. 'There's no world where the Watchdogs listen to reason. Not today, at least' Bishop decides. Storm agrees, and informs Bishop that she is having words with their leader right now.

Storm informs the Lead Dog that the Krakoans are here to aid in the relief. 'Help us, or step aside' she warns the Lead Dog. 'You want to do something good for these people? Stay still I run you down!' the old man snarls. 'How fortunate. There seems to be a pressure pocket inside your tricycle' Storm responds casually as she causes his sky-cycle to explode. Down below, Penance runs a claw across the forehead of one of the younger Watchdogs and tells him a secret: 'Good people have nothing to fear from me. You do'. The Lead Dog screams as he plunges towards the ground below. 'Just like the danger room' Cyclops calls out as he fires an optic blast at Archangel's wings, the wings are parted like blades, and when the optic beam strikes the wing, it splits into several beams, each of which streaks forward and slams into a Watchdog. 'Danger planet, these days' Archangel suggests.

'All we're good for to your kind is killing?' the Lead Dog asks as he careens towards the ground – then, several feet from the concrete below, he comes to a halt mid-air, as other Watchdogs find themselves levitated several feet up off the ground. 'Hey! What's? It's them! S'gotta be one 'a them!' a Watchdog calls out. 'But where're they taking us?' one of them asks. 'Up!' Jean Grey calls out as she flies up between the Watchdogs, one of whom tries to aim their gun towards Jena, but finds that the gun won't hold together. 'Got news for you, mind lady – do this, and there'll be consequences!' another exclaims. 'What consequences? You're obviously not interested in – solutions' Jean responds, before she looks concerned. She turns to one of the Watchdogs suspended nearby. 'Don't touch me! Let me go!' the Watchdog calls out, while Jean reads the minds of all of them and discovers that they all really believe this was a mutant attack. 'Because it was you soulless ginger -' the Watchdog starts, before Jean switches off their speech centers.

Jean then informs the Krakoans that the Watchdogs are indeed crazed, but that if this is a false flag, they are not in on it. While Bishop talks with a group of civilians, Storm kneels beside Triage and looks at several wounded civilians as she responds to Jean by remarking 'Then they too are pawns. Like Milford, so much lost here... for a game'. Storm turns to Triage and tells him that he does Krakoa proud, as many still live thanks to his gifts. 'Not gifted enough, Storm... they're not all getting back up' Triage responds, sweat pouring down his face.

Jean drops down beside Bishop and Storm and tells them that the dogs will be chasing their tails for hours, before asking Bishop what the view is down here. 'An eyeful of counterattack. The fight's still on' Bishop responds, adding that the clenched fists won't win – and like Monet said, they need open hands.

Storm surrounds Triage and several patients in a bubble, and Triage thanks Storm for the assist, as this oxygen-rich environment will help with the healing. 'And free you to focus on the finer details of the wounded' Storm notes, while reminding Triage that he is gifted. Nearby, Carl Valentino a.k.a. Somnus keeps watch over several sleeping civilians, he reports that the wounded are stable, dreaming comfortably until Triage can get to them. 'If he even needs to' Kristina Anderson a.k.a. Thumbelina points out from inside the body of one of the civilians, where she is performing microsurgery. She reports that so far she has repaired seven lungs, a pancreas, and thirteen hearts – and counting. 'Down to five minutes per on the last one' Thumbelina boasts, adding that it is good to be back on the job.

Bishop contacts the woman only known as Wicked and tells her that with no backups, the Phoenix Foundation is off the table. The ghoulish mutant tells Bishop that she gets it, but that not everyone sees why they can't just resurrect anyone. As a young man cries, holding the hands of the ghost of someone he cares for, Wicked declares that she is in grief counseling. 'Losses are minimal, sure – but not to those who've lost'.

A press conference has been established nearby, with Monet and Angel, back to their regular forms, along with Cyclops, stand on the podium next to a woman who thanks everyone for coming, and introduces herself as Mayor Aviance. She states that this morning, Milford was attacked, and while details are unclear, it appears that mutants are not behind the violence. 'They were the first to offer aid. Krakoa's X-Corp has pledged ongoing relief...while its volunteers continue to lift our hearts...rescue those still trapped in the rubble... decontaminate our streets... and turn one of our darkest nights... into something bright' the Mayor announces.

Joshua Guthrie a.k.a. Icarus sits near a group who are gathered around a fire, and he reports that spirits are up, and that he has learned four local tunes, with more on the way. Shela Sexton a.k.a. Escapade is also part of the Krakoan Response Team, and as she hands a small dog to a woman, she reports that she is on evacuation duty, that switching places has been killer, but there aren't many spots she can't escape from. Elsewhere, the Thresholder called Crave lies in a pile of biohazardous material. He reports that he doesn't know what “biohazard” means, but that it is tasty and nutrtiious to him, having consumed the dangerous substances. Icarus suddenly looks up to the night sky where the Beaubier twins, Northstar and Aurora, appear. They hold hands and create a brilliant light which glows over the town of Milford. Aurora apologizes for the delay, explaining that they were on Arakko, while Northstar boasts that he and his sister remain the world's best defense against the dark.

The Mayor continues with her speech, stating that the Krakoans strengthen this town, while cleaning their skies, purifying their water and preparing them for the bureaucratic and budgetary battles to come. Indeed, Sanjar Javeed is with some of the poorly and reports that he has boosted immunity in the most vulnerable, whose bacterial and viral resistence is now up. He also refers to once being called Death, but now, he is Life. Jacob Williams a.k.a. Brutha Nature walks alongside a river in a forest and announces that he is doing what he does, and has air-scrubbing flora budding all over town. Soudabeh Abadi a.k.a Alchemist reports in, calling herself a humble miracle worker, she reveals that the ground water was poisoned, until she gave it a stern talking to. Iceman has created several ice-copies of himself and announces that he is in the comptroller's office, wearing his CPA hat. 'Thing was dusty as hell' Bobby adds as he searches through several files.

Jean Grey flies down a street, bricks, panels of wood and other materials floating around her, she introduces herself to the civilians as Jean, and tells them that her mind rebuild their homes, but their memories are the blueprints – so if they want to renovate, that's on her. Theia and Tempo walk hand-in-hand nearby, and Theia tells Tempo that people are looking at them. 'Us? Or their streets reassembling themselves before their eyes' Tempo suggests. 'I already know you're magic, Theia. They're just figuring it out' Tempo smiles. 'You're a soup guy now, Greycrow?' James Madrox the Multiple Man asks as he and several dupes form a soup kitchen line, handing bowls of soup to the locals, while John Greycrow stirs a large pot of soup. Greycrow tells Madrox that food is power, and so are bullets, if he keeps running his mouth. 'Seafood boil's got everything people need, and it reminds 'em of home' Greycrow adds. Nearby, 'Thanks, Mister Eye-Scream!' a little girl call out as the mutant known only as Eye-Scream uses his powers to manifest ice-cream in a bowl for the girl. 'You're welcome, kid' Eye-Scream replies, before asking 'Who's next? Pick a flavor. Sky's the limit' he exclaims. Bishop walks among the Krakoans and tells them that they are doing good work, while the Mayor states that it is mutants putting their lives on hold, so the people of Milford can reclaim their own.

Shortly, Bishop stands before a large number of gathered civilians. Cyclops, Iceman, Storm, Monet, Angel, Jean, Triage and Tempo gather behind Bishop, as he addresses the people of Milford, instroducing himself as a Captain Commander of Krakoa. 'One day ago, you suffered an unthinkable shock. A mutant seemed to be at fault. Even before we knew the truth, Krakoa acted – because it wasn't about us'. Bishop continues, noting that if they as mutants can do more than humans, then they should do more – because charity, it can't be about redeeming the giver – it must liberate the receiver – which is why the Krakoans came here. 'To give you back not just what was lost – what was taken from you... but more. And that doesn't end when we leave'. The Krakoans and the civilians begin interacting, shaking hands and talking to each other.

Bishop continues, telling the people of Milford that they deserve to know who tried using their lives to pit human against mutant, and now they will, though the evidence was gained through mutant gifts. It was Nathaniel Carver a.k.a. Hindsight, a young Krakoan who is psychometric, and whose touch revealed flashes, sights and sounds that implicate Orchis. Bishop states that by funding the Heritage Initiative, Orchis built a mutant bomb, and unleashed him on Milford. 'To them, you were game pieces. I don't doubt that's painful. But it's also peace of mind'. Jean, Angel and Iceman help dish out more food supplies, while Wicked sits in a cemetery, several ghosts sitting with her. Bishop tells the civilians that the days ahead won't be easy, and that there are some losses that cannot be undone. 'And even so – some of you may never trust us. That's you right. But trust us or not – you won't have to face what's next alone. Krakoa will be with you... for as long as you'll have us'.

After shaking hands with the Mayor, Bishop leads the Krakoan Response Team away from Milford. As they fly through the air, Storm remarks 'The Watchdogs...all that anger and they didn't have a clue who they were working for. They mobilized – were ready for war – off an anonymous tip'. Bishop acknowledges that it seems Jean had the Watchdogs pretty well dusted, and asks if they are turning themselves in as they speak. 'Not yet. Like I said – they'll be chasing their tails for hours' Jean responds, explaining that, literally, the Watchdogs will walk in circles until they hear the sound of handcuffs. 'But as to when that'll be? Well, I'm sure Milford will happily turn them over...once they're done with them' Jean smiles, while, back in Milford, little boys are throwing food at the Watchdogs, a burger slams into Lead Dog's face.

Jean, Bishop and Storm hover mid-air above a river, taking a moment to relax after the recent events. Bishop asks Jean if there is something on her mind. 'Me? Never' Jean replies. But Bishop thinks otherwise, and remarks that Jean must be thinking about the Watchdogs. Jean frowns, and reports that the Watchdogs are still circling, she just checked in on them. Bishop refers to Santo Marco and Nature Girl's oil-rig hit, and tells his longtime teammates that he has worked disasters before, but that today was different. 'This was a comprehensive attack in what started as hostile territory'. Storm tells Bishop that he may have worried, but that she never doubted their Captain Commander. Jean adds that Milford was afraid, but that Bishop managed to turn that into faith. Suddenly: 'Wait, it's just hitting. The rage – like the Watchdogs... but blazing across all of North America' Jean announces, revealing that Milford is speaking out for Krakoa – only no one is listening.

Later, the Lead Dog is interviewed in which he reveals that his name is Gio Mack, and calls himself a human rights activist, as well as Lead Dog of the Watchdogs and witness to Krakoa's sick attack on their way of life. He vows that he won't be silenced. 'Mutants hit that poor town then showed up to finish the job. We Watchdogs came to protect the townsfolk. The Krakoans brutalized us' Lead Dog snarls.

Edwin Martynec of the Heritage Initiative tells a reporter that the Heritage Initiative is aware of Krakoa's allegations of genetic misconduct, but they are aware the Krakoans have no proof that doesn't rely on biased so-called mutant technology.

Gemma Shin of Fact Channel News interviews the Mayor of Milford via video connection: 'Miss Avinicia – shouldn't your focus be on protecting your people, not their attackers?' Gemma asks. Unimpressed, the Mayor responds: 'It's Mayor Aviance, Miss Shin. And you talk a lot about what's best for Milford... for someone who's never set foot there. We lived through the explosion. We're the ones speaking out about what really happened' Mayor Aviance declares, adding that this was made to look like mutants, but that Krakoa wasn't to blame. 'So you say – but we were all watching. Many people feel this was yet another act of mutant aggression... and they've got a right to that belief' Gemma responds defiantly.

Elsewhere: 'Not a great day. Orchis' seeds are sprouting no matter what Milford says happened' Iceman points out as he makes a small ice flower. 'Opinion – the lowest form of intelligence. Well, no – there are puns. So beware, man of ice.' Alechmist responds as she transforms the ice flower, changing its substance – then Monet extends a Penance claw through the flower, spiking it. 'Those who know Milford's truth speak it, Sudi... and those who don't know don't care be greater measure' Monet declares. Bobby points out that people see what they want to see, as Alchemist adds that this is a story she has known since the Spanish Inquisition. Monet breaks the flower and announces that they have all lived through it, in any number of ways, and all survived it. 'Despite their efforts, humans have yet to invest a weapon greater... than an idea'.

Aboard the Bloom, Judas Traveller asks for a narrative update, and one of his staff report that Milford is in recovery, that Orchis' attack had no lasting impact, other than the funerals, of course. 'Think laterally' Judas tellls the officer. 'I told you Milford wasn't the target. And as I see it, this... was a direct hit' Judas Traveller grins as he watches Gemma Shin over and over again stating that people have a right to their belief that this was an act of mutant aggression....

Characters Involved: 

Alchemist, Angel, Aurora, Bishop, Brutha Nature, Cerebra, Crave, Cyclops, Escapade, Eye-Scream, Jean Grey, Greycrow, Hindsight, Icarus, Iceman, Karma, Life, Multiple Man, Northstar, Penance, Somnus, Storm, Tag, Tempo, Theia, Thumbelina, Thunderbird, Triage, Wicked (all Krakoan Response Team)

Colossus, Destiny, Exodus, Emma Frost, Hope, Mystique, Kate Pryde, Sebastian Shaw, Professor X (all Quiet Council)

Judas Traveller
Orchis personnel

Gemma Shin
Edwin Martynec

Gio Mack/Lead Dog

Mayor Aviance

Story Notes: 

This issue takes place before X-Men: Hellfire Gala (2023) #1.

Nature Girl's story has played out through the X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic story.

Thunderbird attacked a police station in Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird #1.

Tag was resurrected in X-Factor (4th series) #5.

Thumbelina was last seen working for SWORD in Last Annihilation: Wiccan & Hulkling #1.

Wicked most recently appeared as an integral part of Kate Pryde's plan to re-birth the Threshold nation in Marauders (2nd series) #11-12.

Icarus is an established singer. He was returned to life in X-Factor (4th series) #5 and has appeared occasionally since then.

Escapade first appeared in Marvel Voice's Pride (2nd series) #1, and throughout issues of New Mutants (4th series) and New Mutants Lethal Legion since then.

Sanjar Javeed a.k.a. Life and previously Death was one of Apocalypse's Final Horseman. He first appeared in Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #2 and was beheaded in #15. He returned with no explanation as a teacher at the Pan-Asian School for the Unusually Gifted in Infinity: The Hunt #1-2, and most recently appeared at that school in Marvel's Voices Infinity Comic #34 and #36.

Brutha Nature and Alchemist were last briefly seen in Marauders (2nd series) #12.

Eye-Scream is an obscure character who has previously only appeared in the one-shot from 1983 called Obnoxio the Clown in which the X-Men face an obnoxious clown and encounter the mutant Eye-Scream.

This issue marks Hindsight's first appearance in the Krakoan era, save for a cameo with other LGBTQ characters in Marvel's Voices Pride (1st series) #1.

Edwin Martynec joined the Heritage Initiative in Giant-Sized X-Men: Thunderbird #1.

Gemma Shin is also known as the Symbiote Agony.

This issue includes a copy of an email from Judas Traveller to Gemma Shin thanking her for her work and suggesting their could be the opportunity for future work together.

This issue also includes a copy of an email from Judas Traveller to Edwin Martynec in which it is announced that the Heritage Initiative has been shut down, but Judas invites Edwin to come work for Orchis.

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