X-Men: Red (2nd series) #10

Issue Date: 
January 2023
Story Title: 
The New Age

Al Ewing (writer), Stefano Caselli & Jacopo Gamagni (artists), Federico Blee (color), VC’s Ariana Maher (letterer and production), Tom Muller (design),Russell Dautermann (cover artist),) Taurin Clarke, Ivan Shavrin (variant covers), VC’s Clayton Cowles (production), Laure Amara (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: 

Vulcan confronts Storm at the Autumn Palace. The two omegas seem evenly matched, with Vulcan slowly gaining the upper hand, only for him to step into a prepared trap, as Storm is working with other members of the Great Ring. Together, they manage to take Vulcan down and encase him in mysterium. Commander Brand realizes that she has been had and that her telepath Mentallo is working for the other side. Before Sunspot’s group can capture her, she teleports out, only to learn that her hideout has been compromised by the Fisher King. At the World Farm, Cable calls back the sample of T.O. stolen from him and creates a bodysuit. Manifold is helped by Lactuca. He teleports the Progenitors away and then teleports the team, including Wiz Kid, back home. Orbis Stellaris reveals himself to be another clone of Nathaniel Essex.

Full Summary: 

The Autumn Palace:
Vulcan came here to murder Xandra. Instead, he found Storm waiting for him.

He warns her, he is reborn. The shell is broken and the fire inside him is free now! This will not go as it went before. Before she went easy on him, Storm replies calmly and tells him to make his move. He warns her she had her chance. His energy blast destroys the walls.

The World Farm:
The three Progenitors have done something to Manifold, who is caught in a spasms, energy swirling in him. Such beautiful power, one Progenitor muses. Would their master like them to let it loose from its cage? To let the speaker-to-space speak Babel – turn the language of the stars and worlds to gibberish? To reduce all signal to noise? If their sublime overlord desires it, a second Progenitor replies. Nervously Orbis Stellaris tells them not to, adding “please.” But of course, great Stellaris the third Progenitor grins mockingly. He is whom they meant!

Anyone else feels like the wheels are coming off the wagon here? Proudstar asks, getting ready to attack the one with the two mouths. He has two fists. The math checks out! Cable holds him back, suggesting they make that Plan B. He turns to Khora of the Burning Heart for Plan A. Khora boosts Cable’s power. Weaponless Zsen opines that no Arakkii would accept such an insult. Her sister replies that the Askanison thinks differently, and so does she. This was never weakness, but strength upon strength!

And he was pretty strong to start with, Cable groans as he glows with energy. Too strong at times. His power threatened to burn him out, so he used it to control the techno-organic virus inside of him. He reaches out telekinetically and frees the T.O.-sample Stellaris got off him. It comes to Cable and creates a battle suit around him.

A complication, the Progenitors admit. Cable grins. He tells Stellaris to crack that shell open and talk man to man!

Having protected herself with an iceshield, Storm is still in the air. Unimpressed, Vulcan mocks if that is her move, when he brings the sun to her door. Not falling over. Surviving, little king, she corrects him. It’s what she’s been doing since the day she was born. He is a furnace. She is the Arctic. He brandishes flames, she holds the lightning, they are evenly matched.

Are they? he goads. She was too proud to die. Too fearful. But the Son of Summer has visited that cold country and returned! Reinvigorated and restored! With hell’s own fire in his hand, the Arctic melts! The planet burns! And he is that burning! So, in the end, she will fall!

On the KEEP, Brand is watching the two. Mentallo remarks, she found Storm at least. Vulcan found her, she corrects, and found her at the Autumn Palace, the headquarters of the Brotherhood of Arakko. And her scans told her Magneto’s house was empty. And there is nothing wrong with her equipment, so the problem was her. Not seeing what was right there. Psychic wammy, huh? Mentallo asks and apologizes for not spotting it.

She’s been trained in psychic defense on a dozen worlds, she replies calmly. She even took Xavier’s psychic defense course, the Red Triangle Protocol.

Mentallo stammers that Xandra is pretty powerful. Not good enough to get to her, Brand interrupts, unless she was right here in this room. And if she was that close, Brand would see her… unless she used a relay…a fellow psychic to carry her signal. He wouldn’t need much psi-power either, she continues mercilessly. He could be a total loser.

She bodyslides a sidearm into her hand and trains it on Mentallo. She does see the sunny side of this. She took him, after all his AIM snafus, because his loyalty goes to the highest bidder. And she honestly thought that was her. When Fury turned “moon man,” she got the keys to the black budget. So, who’s got more money than SHIELD? Who hires from AIM? Does she even need to ask, or should she play the Mission Impossible theme right now? Behind her stand Syzia, Xandra, Deathbird and a somewhat miffed Sunspot. Is he really that predictable?

The World Farm:
Please be gentle, Orbis Stellaris begs a moment before Cable hits the globe he resides in.

The Progenitors are disgusted: the glow of the Phalanx contagion reduced to this. A primate finds a priceless crystal and uses it to bash another ape’s skull! The third announces he refuses to watch. It insults his sight. The three take Cable into their sight, making his T.O. armor turn against him.

However, with their attention on Cable, Manifold is free. Zsen tells him to act - he has more power than any of them. He explains he cannot use his power in a room without windows. He needs to see the stars or a landmark or something! He needs to know where he is.

Suddenly, somehow, Lactuca contacts him, calling him her little brother. He is her kin and Lactuca will always know where he is! That revelation helps Eden, and he uses it to teleport the Progenitors away.

Where did he put them? Khora asks the exhausted Eden. Outside, all the way outside, he replies, but he thinks that might be where they are from, he adds in a small voice.

Cable announces they got his TO back and any intel it might have gathered. As well as what Zsen saw, but that intel might be redundant now. He looks at the motionless Orbis Stellaris. When he is ready, he tells Eden.

Eden teleports aboard Wiz Kid’s ship that is under attack and tells him he is not carrying an entire ship. He can always make another, Taki consoles himself and is teleported away a moment before the ship gets blown up.

Brand tells Xandra that, for a moment there, she really thought she’d killed her. Many have, Xandra replies, but here she is, and she is currently in telepathic contact with Nathan Summers, who has witnessed many things, all fully admissible as evidence both under the pan-world treaty and the Shi’ar’s own law. Brand flew too close to the sun and in doing so she tried to foment interstellar war and conspired to remove Xandra from her throne. What does she say in her defense?

Brand replies that, as Xandra’s forebears would have told her, the Kree and Skrulls’ peace makes for strong neighbors, and she’d rather have weak ones. She’s seen what happens when your home system can’t compete. She was there.

An old excuse, Xandra scoffs, and she is sure Brand has used it many times to help her sleep at night. She truly has nothing else to tell her? Only that she copied Kid Cable’s tech the day they met, Brand replies and gives the order to bodyslide her out of here.

She is teleported to a secret place and sinks down in exhaustion, then chides herself to get herself together.

Abigail Thanriaguiaxus! a voice booms. How does he know her name? she bursts out. Her grand plans are dust, Abigail-born-as-Axus-ended, the Fisher King replies. She is an enemy of Arakko, and for their enemies there is only destruction. Destruction of all that she is. And at the end of that road? Is what comes next.

On Arakko, fire fights water. Vulcan battles Storm and announces she has nothing! All her power is going to defense against the inferno he is bidding! But her snows are gone. The wind she is riding is dry as dust. The sky is fire! Where is her weather now? Firing a blast at her, he rants there is none! He has stolen her weather! What does she have left? The rope-a-dope, she smirks and gives the order to do it now!

Suddenly, there is a downpour that extinguishes his flames. He falls. Storm tells him omega against omega is always a matter of will. He mistook her restraint for weakness. While he wasted his power on petty displays of grandiosity, she waited for her moment to strike. With what? he demands. He left nothing but fire and ash! How could she summon the rain?

She tells him, the difference between them is he fights like a king, considering his power his subject. She is not a queen, so she has equals. Wrongslide formed an underground chamber. Sobunar filled it with his endless ocean and Logos Lodus shielded it with a lining of Mysterium. These are her equals. These are her people.

He scoffs that she needed help? She retorts that they have learned, and he has learned nothing! Even now, he only respects the empty hierarchies of powers. So be it!

She asks Lodus Logos to show him power. Lodus Logos encases Vulcan in a mysterium husk, which he will be unable to destroy. Storm doesn’t believe he possess the subtlety to escape but, since he is an omega who grows stronger with death, he may evolve again.

He is king! Vulcan shouts through the small mouth opening. Or he may not, Storm concludes wryly.

Then they must, Sobunar muses. Arakko is changing to meet new threats. Including this. And if their new tactics are called “help” on their new world, let them embrace that. And help each other, in the name of brotherhood.

At the World Farm, Orbis Stellaris has trouble opening the round shell that transports him but finally manages to do so. He orders the Progenitors to prepare a new Orbis Stellaris shell. This ancient body won’t last out the day without proper medical support… and he refuses to die. He simply has too much to do. The mutants of Earth have earned his undying enmity – his vengeance in full measure…

He is an old, naked man with a spade symbol on his forehead. And Nathan Essex will deliver in spades, he promises.

Characters Involved: 

Cable, Fisher King, Khora of the Burning Heart, Manifold, Storm, Sunspot, Thunderbird, Weaponless Szen (Brotherhood of Arakko)
Wiz Kid
Lactuca, Lodus Logos, Sobunar (Great Ring of Arakko)


Commander Brand
Orbis Stellaris

Story Notes: 

- A poem by Lodus Logos describing the battle at the Autmn Palace
- an after-action report by Cable

Further notes:

Vulcan and Storm fought before in issue #2.

Storm being too proud to die refers to the plotline in Giant-Size X-Men: Storm and Giant Size X-Men: Jean Grey and Emma Frost

Orbis Stellaris is revealed to be the third Essex clone (spades), after Mr. Sinister (diamond) and Dr. Stasis (club).

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