Dead X-Men #2

Issue Date: 
April 2024
Story Title: 
Army of Me

Steve Foxe (writer), Peter Nguyen, Bernard Chang & Guillermo Sanna (artists), Frank Martin (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), Tom Muller & Jay Bowen (designers), Lucas Werneck (cover artist); Carmen Carnero & Nolan Woodard (variant cover artist), Michele Bandini & Erick Arciniega (X-Men '97 variant cover artists), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Moira MacTaggert arrives in another timeline, where she lays waste to a group of mutants on Island M. In the White Hot Room, the Dead X-Men communicate with Askani, and continue to discuss their mission to find an early version of Moira MacTaggert. The X-Men are transported to another of Moira's past lives, to a world giant Ultrons seem to have taken over. Prodigy ascertains where in Moira's timeline they are – her seventh life, where she tried to wipe out all of the Trask family. During some chaos in which Ultrons seem to be attacking civilians, beneath the rubble of a building Emma Frost, who provides the X-Men with telepathic visuals of moments earlier when Moira interrupted a senate hearing where Hank Pym discussed the use of his Ultron robots to safeguard American communities from mutants. Moira shoved a weapon into the back of Henry Gyrich who was in control of the meeting, before the Ultrons then launched an attack. Jubilee holds the body of this world's Emma as she passes away in her arms, before Frenzy rallies the X-Men to stop Moira no matter the cost.

Full Summary: 

(Moira's Eighth Life)
Island M, where there is a rip in the fabric of Space-Time. It happens just over Island M, and is noticed by Tower, who along with Stinger, Quill, Mentallo and Toad is on the shore of Island M. 'In front of the sun – you guys see th-' Tower begins, when suddenly, the Toad jumps to one side as a deformed version of Moira MacTaggart tears through the statuesque mutant with her powerful Weapon M, drenching the shore in Tower's blood. 'Stop. For the glory of Magneto!' Mentallo calls out, while Toad, Stinger and Quill prepare themselves for battle. This one-armed Moira lands in the shallows of the water. She is a refugee of a dead timeline. “Glory” she laughs. 'Erik is as useless as Charles and Little Boy Blue. Just angry, idealistic men with too much power' Moira declares. Quill opens fire at her, blasting her with several spikes, while Stinger readies some energy and tells Mentallo to call for back up. 'This android nutcase killed Tower!' she exclaims.

Moira's Weapon M appears to absorb Stinger's energy and Quill's spikes, as Moira announces that she is not a machine, and that she wouldn't bother calling for help, either. 'I won't be stayling long' Moira declares as she unleashes the absorbed energy back towards the mutants, severing their limbs from their bodies in a gruesome act. 'Your's so fractured...awful. What...what are you?' Mentallo asks. Moira stands over Mentall and tells him that she used to be near-infinite possibility. 'But life comes at you hard' she declares, before announcing that she is planning to take another crack at it, start over and carve everything away. 'Until it call comes up Moira'. Moira carves another tear in Space-Time and leaves her eighth life behind.

(Atlantic Krakoa, the White Hot Room)
A group of “dead” X-Men stand around a waterfall that flows into a pond. The image of Rachel Summers, Askani, materializes in the waterfall, as David Alleyne a.k.a. Prodigy tells Rachel that she has to send them back. With him are Jubilee, Joanna Cargill a.k.a. Frenzy, Alison Blaire a.k.a. Dazzler and Sam Guthrie a.k.a. Cannonball. Askani tells Prodigy that there is no “back” and reminds her team that the mission was to find a Moira-Engine timeline where Moira still had enough biological brain matter to get a psychometric reading off her. 'The five of you pulled it off. Now it's up to Xavier to make his meeting with Moira before her powers manifest' Rachel remarks, adding that those Engine timelines are dead ends. 'Yeah, no duh. Evil-demon-Illyana timeline, unruly-ghosts-of-Genosha timeline. Earth-blows-up timeline' Juibilee lists off the alternate worlds she has recently visited. But Prodigy explains that he doesn't mean going back to the Moira-Engine timelines – he means going back to Moira's past lives.

(No-Place X)
Rachel is currently outside of time, in the bubble that is No-Place X. She telepathically tells Prodigy that those are defunct realities. 'The Engine timelines branch off from ours. Her past lives...even Xavier only knows what Moira was willing to share about them' Rachel adds. She admits that she doesn't know if it is possible to reach them – not even from outside of time and space.

(Atlantic Krakoa, the White Hot Room)
Prodigy remarks that every plan left is a long shot, and states that they can't afford to leave options on the table. 'What if I could absorb the knowledge of someone in a past life where they stopped a Dominion?' he asks. 'What if the key to all of this is out there and we don't even know we're missing it?' David suggests. Cannonball tells Prodigy that he hears him, but that these are uncharted waters. 'And we don't know what would happen if we died in one of Moira's past lives. The Five might have no way of recovering us' Frenzy indicates. Jubilee tells Frenzy that question is touch and go regardless, and Dazzler decides that Prodigy is right – everything is on the line – they have to try something.

Askani tells her team that this is crazy, before informing them gthat the mental map they recovered should be enough for Xavier's plans, but that Moira mind was warped, and she doesn't think she can target specific lives, so she would be flinging them into timelines at random. 'We're X-Men. This is what we signed up for' Dazzler responds. Frenzy notes that if these intrusions are riskier, then they may stand a bigger chance of attracting the Dominion's attention. Prodigy realizes that they don't know if they can even access these past lives, so this might be the only move they can make that the Dominion can't see coming. Cannonball puts a hand on Prodigy's shoulder and points out that he is still hurting from that last jump. 'That rock in your chest -' he begins, but Prodigy assures Cannonball that he can't feel it – and even if he could, they don't have time to spare.

(No-Place X)
'If we try this, you have to know I might not be able to -' Rachel begins, when suddenly, there is a rumbling, and she is concerned. 'Oh, $#%&!' she exclaims.

(Atlantic Krakoa, the White Hot Room)
Rachel informs her team that No-Place X is under assault again. 'It's now or never. Are we really doing this?' she asks. Prodigy knows that he can't force anyone to join him, to which Frenzy assures him that he doesn't have to. 'We're with ya' she assures him. The X-Men gather together as Jubilee calls out 'What are we waiting for? C'mon, Rach – let's pull off the impossible!'

(Moira's Seventh life)
There is a surge of energy, and the dead X-Men materialize in one of Moira's past lives. Specifically, they find themselves in Washington D.C. The Capitol Building has been partially destroyed. Smoke rises from it, while two large Ultrons stand over it. Other Ultrons fly around the building, blasting people below with energy beams as the civilians struggle and run in confusion. 'Whoa – are those Ultrons? This is as bad as some of the Engine timelines' Cannonball exclaims. Dazzler reminds her teammates that they are a lot more exposed out here, and that half of DC just saw their portal open. 'The fleeing civilians are too worried about murder robots to notice the five of us, sparkle princess' Jubilee suggests. Frenzy looks at Prodigy and tells him that he must be in agony with this many minds around him. But Prodigy informs Frenzy that he feels fine. 'My powers, even with the limits off, are... completely under control' he utters, with the mysterium still lodged in his chest. 'What's it called when something's reassuring and super ominious at the same time?' Jubilee asks, adjusting her pink shades. 'Incoming! Move it!' Dazzler shouts, too late, as one of the large Ultrons slams a foot down, knocking the five X-Men aside.

'Oh, $#%&! That was almost real bad deja vu!' Jubilee exclaims. 'Yeah. Let's not' Frenzy frowns as she suddenly grabs the Ultron by its foot and begins to lift it. 'Hey, Kentucky-friend. On my mark!' Frenzy calls out, and an instant later, Cannonball blasts through the Ultron's neck, decapitating it. 'Line 'em up and Ah'll knock 'em down!' Cannonball calls out. Prodigy runs from the battle scene to a nearby newstand, deciding that he absorbed so much from thar Moira, and now he needs to figure out which timeline they have landed in. He begins to flick through a newspaper, hoping to learn when exactly he and his teammates have arrived. 'This isn't the best time to catch up on the Sunday funnies, Davey-boy!' Jubilee calls out as she pushes a civilian away from a blast of energy fired by one of the Ultrons.

Prodigy reads one of the articles: “Humanity Now! activist Simon Trask was found gunned down in -' he begins, before announcing that he knows when they are, he knows what life this is. He reveals that in Moira's seventh life, she spent it trying to wipe out the Traskk bloodline to prevent the Sentinels from ever being created. 'Gonna guess that didn't work out' Cannonball suggests as he blasts through one of the Ultrons, pointing out that these Ultrons feel an awful lot like Sentinels with a different coat of paint. Prodigy tells Cannonball that he is right, and that killing the Trasks didn't stop A.I. from coming online – it just changed who started the activation. He adds that if Moira has killed Simon Trask, then they are about ten years out from her death and reality resetting. 'Except... I didn't pick up anything about Ultrons attacking the Capitol...' he tells himself, while Frenzy smashes down one of the Ultrons and announces that this is the last of them, as Dazzler kicks one back. 'Good. I really don't like that we're already off-script from what Prodigy absorbed.

'We need to get Rachel to pull us out now -' Dazzler begins, when suddenly, the X-Men look confused as they all hear a psychic cry: 'PULL US OUT NOW!' Cannonball tells the others that wasn't Rachel, and wonders if it was some kind of psychic attack. 'Must be someone strong to get around our senses' he suggests, but Jubilee tells him that they aren't strong, just really, really clever, as she recognizes that voice. 'She's trying to lead us to her. Come one!' Jubilee tells her teammates as she beckons for them to follow her, then asks Frenzy if she can remove the rubble up ahead. 'I think she's trapped!' Jubilee exclaims. 'You think – who's trapped?' Frenzy asks as she picks up the large boulders and begins tossing them aside. 'Oh. Oh no' Jubilee gasps as she and the others look on in horror – it's Emma Frost, covered in blood and carrying the body of one of her dead students. 'My students – please – get them to a hospital -' Emma begins, before collapsing.

Jubilee rushes over to Emma, whose body is partially in diamond-form, and asks her what happened, what went wrong here. 'My's so brilliant. I've never...shined like this before' Emma utters. Cannonball isn't sure that Emma recognizes them, and Frenzy suggests it could be the trauma. But Prodigy reports that the only impressions he gets from Emma involve the Massachusetts Academy, suggesting that things must have gone differently here. Jubilee holds Emma and tells her that they are going to help her, but explains that they aren't from around here, and need to know what they are up against. Dazzler asks if this is a good idea, 'What if we're changing too much by intervening?' she enquires, before Emma telepathically tells her rescuers that it might be best if they see it for themselves.

(Moira's Seventh life – twenty minutes ago)
Dr. Hank Pym appears before a senate committee, while behind him Emma Frost sits with several of her students. A number of senators look at them, and Dr. Pym addresses Senator Shaffran, informing them that any X-Gene identification capabilities built into the Ultron models are purely a securiity measure, to guarantee that they are fully prepared to safeguard American communities. He adds that he doesn't want to politicize the deaths of the Trask family, but that it would be a grave error to halt America's technological progress as a result of radical mutant terrorism. “Radical mutant terrorism?” Emma Frost quotes, before asking Dr. Pym if he is aware that he is endorsing a fringe conspiracy theory about the Trask assassinations. 'Ms. Frost, you and your special students were allowed here to provide your perspectives, not to interrupt -' Henry Gyrich begins, when suddenly, there is a tear in Space-Time, behind him, and the strange Moira MacTaggert steps through it. 'Ach, Henry Peter Gyrich – a $#%& in any lifetime' she remarks as she brings her Weapon M down into his back. 'But not one I met in my first life, I'm afraid' she adds. 'All Ultron units, converge on my location! I repeat – all -' Dr. Pym begins as he presses a button on his wristband, while Emma switches to her diamond form and instructs all of her students to get behind her.

(Moira's Seventh life)
'That...that was the Moira from the Engine timeline. On the destroyed Earth' Dazzler exclaims. 'But how? Rachel said it was nigh impossible to get us here, let alone -' Cannonball begins, before Frenzy asks Prodigy if he has any memory of something like this happening before, in any of Moira's lives? 'Think hard. We need to know if this intrusion always happens, or if we -' Frenzy begins, but Prodigy closes his eyes and announces that there is nothing – that this is all their fault. 'We changed the path'. Jubilee calls out to Emma, asking her to say something biting and means – but it's no use, Emma dies in Jubilee's arms.

Dazzler reminds everyone that Prodigy had said this life ends soon anyway. 'Maybe... maybe it won't matter in the long run?' she asks. 'Even if they stop existing tomorrow, these people weren't meant to end their lives bleeding out at the foot of some tin can!' Cannonball snaps. 'You think I don't know that, Sam?' Dazzler responds. Prodigy touches the mysterium in his chest and remarks that the Moira-Engine-clone timelines were dead offshoots of their reality, but Moira, the real one, remembers all of her lives and there is no precedent for what happens if these timelines change. 'The ramifications could be... could be...' Prodigy's voie trails off. 'So what do we do about it?' Jubilee asks. Frenzy reminds the others that the insane version of Moira mentioned her first life. 'Think of the harm she could do if she went back to the beginning. If we're at all responsible for her tearing her way through reality, then there's only one thing we can do' Frenzy announces as her teammates gather around her: 'We have to find Moira and put her down. By any means necessary!'

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Dazzler, Frenzy, Jubilee, Prodigy IV (all X-Men)

Moira MacTaggert (Moira Engine II.4 version)

(in Moira's Eighth life)
Mentallo, Quill, Stinger, Toad, Tower

(in Moira's Seventh life)
Emma Frost
Unnamed mutants

(in  Moira's Seventh life flashback image)
Moira MacTaggert
Simon Trask

(in  Moira's Seventh life flashback)
Moira MacTaggert (Moira Engine II.4 version)
Emma Frost
Henry Gyrich
Dr. Hank Pym
Senator Shaffran
Emma's students

Story Notes: 

The story runs parallel to Rise of the Powers of X.

The mysterium became lodged in Prodigy's chest last issue.

Written By: