Marauders (2nd series) #5

Issue Date: 
October 2022
Story Title: 
Hell Can Wait

Steve Orlando (writer), Andrea Broccardo (artist), Matt Milla (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Ariana Maher (letterer & production), Tom Muller (designer), Kael Ngu (cover artist), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

On Krakoa, Empress Xandra is resurrected and finds her father, Charles Xavier, waiting for her – although her concern is not for herself, but for the Marauders. At the Krag, two of the Marauders – Aurora and Daken – are  keeping watch over the Kin Crimson's Chronicle. Daken and the Chronicle engage in physical combat, which results in Daken stabbing a gland within a stasis tank, which seemingly kills the Chronicle. The rest of the team have arrived on the space station Avalon, but several years in the past when Avalon was under attack from the deadly mutant called Holocaust. Kwannon, Bishop, Tempo, Somnus and Cassandra Nova find themselves caught up in a battle between Holocaust and the fanatical Exodus. Cassandra Nova is knocked out, and the alien symbiote called Zzxz bonds to her, giving her extra abilities when she can use to battle Holocaust, while her teammates confront several Acolytes and look for the timedrive that they are searching for. Bishop is able to tear Holocaust's armor open and Kwannon locates the timedrive containing the DNA of an ancient mutant. Tempo, Kwannon and Cassandra Nova use their powers to make sure that no one aboard Avalon remembers this encounter, before the Marauders return to the present, where they find Deathbird has returned and captured Delphos the Red – who informs Deathbirid that Xandra has been executed – so Deathbird slices Delphos in half. Xandra returns to the Shi'ar Throneworld, and Daken is given a Fang costume as a thanks for his actions destroying the Chronicle. Cassandra gives the symbiote Zzxz to the Shi'ar warrior Warbird, while Somnus sleeps with Neutron. Upon returning to Krakoa, Kwannon spends some time with Greycrow. Kate Pryde is resurrected and is on hand when the mutant Cerebra wants to meet with her.

Full Summary: 

Arbor Magna, Krakoa, where the Empress Xandra Neramani gasps for breath as she breaks through the resurrection egg. 'Xandra Neramani. Shi'ar Majestrix... Mutant' a voice calls out. 'Father?' Xandra utters, confused, before asking what she is doing here. 'Take this. Keep warm' Xavier tells his daughter as he hands her a blanket, and points out that as for what she is doing here, she is living. Xavier adds that he has seen enough mutants killed, but that on Krakoa, they no longer allow that. 'The... the Kin Crimson executed me... for seeking the truth about the first mutants' Xandra tells her father, adding that it was so fast, that she remembers a flash, and then pain. Xavier tells his daughter that she cried out as only a telepath could, across the gulf of space, lightyears in an instant – and he heard her, of course. 'No force alive could stop my daughter's resurrection' Xavier declares. Xandra smiles and remarks that she has many questions, and tells her father that she must return home, before adding that when she died, she was not fighting alone. Suddenly, Xandra goes wide-eyed with fear, and asks 'What's become of the Marauders?'

At the Krag, in Shi'ar Space, where Jeanne-Marie Beaubier a.k.a. Aurora darts past several of the Kin Crimson, knocking them aside with flashes of brilliant light. She comes to a stop, and tells the Kin Crimson that they have the Chronicle, and will free their ancestors from the past. 'And if you Kin Crimson killers think you can stop us... you're about to see the light' Aurora exclaims, while her teammate and lover Daken holds his claws to the throat of the Chronicle, asking him 'Who'd question if I dressed you out like a deer?' But the Chronicle grins and tells Daken that his threats are dull and weaning. 'You sure?' Daken snarls as he slashes his claws across the face of the Chronicle – although blood pours from the Chronicle's eye, the Chronicle is barely bothered by the injury and knocks Daken backwards with ease. 'More than ever. If your allies do manage to escape from the past...I'll gladly greet them with your head!' the Chronicle boasts.

(Years ago, ca. X-Men (2nd series) #42-43)

Avalon, currently in the process of exploding in orbit above Earth. 'Report, Rem-Ram!' Delgado calls out. Rem-Ram responds by stating that scans detected a powerful mutant in space, trapped in a crystal shard, drenched in exotic radiation, and upon waking here on Avalon, the mutant attacked. Rem-Ram turns to Delgado while Amelia Voght and Senyaka stand nearby, explosions begin in the control room where they are gathered, and Rem-Ram announces that Exodus is defending the station, but that it has taken critical damage, and they are now in free fall. Rem-Ram adds 'They're hiding their topminds, but I can still feel their subconsciousness'. Rem-Ram suddenly goes wide-eyed and reveals that there is another team aboard – and they are not Acolytes!

Elsewhere on Krakoa, 'Kneel, Exodus, and pray!' the armored being known as Nemesis declares as he looms over the powerful Acolyte known as Exodus. Nemesis has Cassandra Nova of the Marauders in one hand, she appears unconscious, while Nemesis declares that it has been so long since he has heard cries to any god but his father. 'I don't care where any of you came from. Keep blaspheming...and you'll all be burned in effigy!' But Nemesis declares that Exodus' words are just ravings of a mad priest. 'Wounded. I fed on your crew. Now rejuvenated. I am Nemesis, son of Apocalypse. I have no this or any world!' Nemesis booms as the time-lost Marauders – Lucas Bishop, Kwannon a.k.a. Psylocke, Heather Tucker a.k.a. Tempo and Carl Valentino a.k.a. Somnus – watch on, explosions tearing the space station up around them.

Kwannon tells her teammates that she has picked up subliminal telepathy, meaning the Acolytes know they are here. 'But the mission's still on' Kwannon declares. A wide-eyed Tempo points out that this place is a minefield and tells Psylocke that her confidence doesn't change that. 'A shift in even the smallest detail could mean we never came here at all' Tempo remarks, adding that there will be no ancient mutants rescued. 'And who knows what present world we'd wake up in'. Bishop states that Avalon is crashing, and reminds his teammates that the Thresholders are locked in a timedrive somewhere on this station. 'We can still find them and cover our tracks in time. You have my word' Bishop assures Tempo, adding that they have lost too much to go home empty handed, while looking down at the motionless Cassandra Nova who Nemesis has tossed aside.

'YOU CODDLE THIS PLANET!' Nemesis roars as he flies towards Exodus and slams him backwards. 'Your flatscans run wild! Breed freely! All my father allowed them was the boot!' Nemesis exclaims. Somnus listens and asks 'His father – he's Apocalypse's son? The guy you put on the Quiet Council?' he asks. Kwannon explains to the long-dead recently-resurrected Somnus that Nemesis' father is an Apocalypse from a different reality. 'Eventually, all this becomes normal' she assures Somnus. Bishop remarks the clock is ticking, and suggests that Nemesis is just another reality's garbage, so they should just let him crash. He states that he will retrieve Nova, which just leaves the Acolytes, and their forgotten mutant prisoners which no one can seem to locate. Psylocke assures Bishop that they can, and while their psychic residue is fleeting, a boost fruit could let her track it. She suggests to Tempo and Somnus that they distract Exodus' cult, while she secures their ancestors.

Bishop hands Psylocke a boost fruit which she begins to eat, and she telepathically reports that she senses the Thresholders, and that it gets stronger with every step. On the floor, A black goo begins to slither around Cassandra Nova and tells her that now might be the time to make good on their deal, when suddenly Joanna Cargill and Barnacle of the Acolytes appear. 'Rem-Ram said we had stowaways. Thought they'd be taller' Cargill grins. Tempo asks Somnus if he has a plan, and admits that she is still spent from the the time jump. 'Fale prophet!' Exodus cries out as he battles Nemesis, struggling to push the powerful mutant backwards. 'Naive fool!' Nemesis shouts, while Cassandra tells the black goo – a symbiote – that as she healed it from the Kin Crimson's lobotomy, the symbiote heals her from Nemesis' vampiric kiss. 'And once revived, how would you say we should repay him?' Cassandra asks. 'With the only language a monster like that understands' the symbiote responds. 'VIOLENCE!' the symbiote-possessed Cassandra suddenly screams as she leaps up from the ground, and symbiote spikes attack Exodus and Nemesis. 'A symbiote? I culled your kind for my 7th birthday!' Nemesis declares. 'This isn't your world, you bigoted gas lamp. And we're no more symbiote. We... are Zzxz!' the Cassandra/symbiote announces.

At that moment, Somnus moves towards Cargill and Barnacle, and Cargill exclaims 'How about that, the haircut wants to put up his fists'. Somnus tells Tempo to rest for the return, that he will handle this. 'With what? Some Ambien?' Tempo asks. Psylocke leaps over Delgado's head and reports that she is nearly there, that the timedriver's signal is getting clearer. She then tells Bishop that she senses only one Thresholder. Somnus looks back at Tempo and tells her that it is okay. 'You learn a lot in a night with a fighter like Red Lotus. Especially when it's ten years long' he smiles. Part of the symbiote breaks away, revealing Cassandra's face. 'The crone! You've come back much more attractive!' Nemesis exclaims. 'Pity we're here to eat your heart, not steal it' Zzxz adds. Bishop frowns as he watches Cassandra and his thoughts are still connected to Psylocke, informing her that Cassandra is “inky” but he thinks she can take Nemesis down and get him back to what he was before he snacked on her – provided she doesn't kill him first.


'The Kin Crimson do not hide from history!' the Chronicle shouts as he shoves his hand into Daken's chest. 'Storm's not the only one who can light up the sky!' Aurora calls out as she creates another blinding flash of light, which crackles and takes out the Kraag guards that approach her. '...we master it!' the Chronicle grins as he twists his hand inside Daken's chest, while Aurora looks on, concerned. Suddenly, 'You want my heart? Get in line!' Daken snarls as he pulls himself off of the Chronicle's hand, and attacks him with his claws, knocking him backwards – and then slicing off his legs at the knees. Daken looks over at the stasis tank where they found the Chronicle, and utters 'the gland. That's what's keeping you alive'. Daken goes over to the stasis tank and shoves hs claws into it, looking at the gland which floats in the tank, Daken tells the Chronicle that the only thing between him and killing the Chronicle for good is pain. 'No! The truth will poison both our species! You can't kill me! Stop, you -' the Chronicle protests, but too late, as one of Daken's claws pierces the gland inside the tank. 'And pain? Pain's just a challenge' Daken remarks as he sits down next to the tank, while the Chronicle seems to gasp for breath as his eyes roll back in his head. 'Enjoy whatever hell you people believe in, Chronicle. And when you get there...let them know who sent you' Daken exclaims.

(Years ago, ca. X-Men (2nd series) #42-43)

'No! My – my armor! Release me!' Nemesis pleads as Bishop begins to tear Nemesis' armor apart, leaving the son of Apocalypse as nothing more than a flaming skeleton. 'What, don't like me siphoning your energy plating? Don't build it out of psionics' Bishop responds. Zzxz turns to Nemesis and reminds Cassandra Nova of their deal – it needs to feed. 'If it's brains you'd like, Zzxz...this meal might leave you hungry' Cassandra responds, referring to Nemesis, before Bishop approaches Cassandra and tells her to stand down. 'You kill him, you change the past. Change our future. Maybe we never come here for the Thresholders. So back off...unless you're up for some psionic trepanation' Bishop warns Cassandra. 'Honestly, Mr Bishop. You choose now to flirt?' Cassandra asks.

At that moment, Psylocke stands over a motionless Rem-Ram and telepathically infomrs the other Marauders thatb she has the timedrive. She holds the strange device and reports that it is hard to read, she can barely pick up a psyche, just information. 'Like being stuck in a teleporter's pattern buffer. Whoever's in there, the Kin never let them land from the past' Tempo explains, watching as Somnus manipulates Cargill into punching Barnacle, knocking him backwards. Tempo then suggests that they deal with one problem at a time, and uses her powers to pause the space station, and give the Marauders a few minutes to unscrew this mess.

The Marauders regroup, with Exodus and Nemesis “on pause” nearby, and Kwannon tells Nova that she cannot do what she is suggesting. 'Please. I read your DNA when you stabbed me in the head. Your mind if again its proper body. Your X-Gene is optimized' Cassandra responds. Cassandra puts a hand on Kwannon and her other hand on Tempo, and tells Kwannon to forget daggers, that she can focus her gifts however she likes – as part of a crude circuit, using her ward, Zzxz as duct  tape, meaning the four of them might amend the station's memories and depart to the present, leaving Avalon to its fate.

A short time later, Avalon crashes to Earth.


'We're all here, but I'll be lucky to stop a wristwatch until tomorrow' Tempo declares as she, Bishop, Kwannon, Somnus and Cassandra return to the present-day Shi'ar space. Kwannon reports that the timedrive is intact, and that she remembers their raid. 'Which means Avalon's survivors have no memory of us. Even Exodus' Tempo adds. 'Of course not. I devised the psychic charge that hid our actions' Cassandra remarks. Aurora and Daken approach their teammates, and Kwannon greets them, before remarking that she noticed the Chronicle – in pieces. 'Said he couldn't be killed. You know how I get about rules' Daken replies. 'You butchered our best evidence of the Kin Crimson's crimes?' Kwannon asks. Cassandra Nova puts a large helmet on over her head, when suddenly, a voice calls out 'Don't fear, mutant. If it's evidence against the Kin you seek... I've brought gifts!'

The Marauders turn to see a space ship hovering low over the asteroid they  stand on Shi'ar guards can be seen in the distance, while the fierce Deathbird stands nearby, Gladiator at her side, and Delphos, shackled at her feet. 'With the great Delphos the Red, failed seer and holy fool, chief among them' Deathbird exclaims. Kwannon holds up the timedrive and informs Deathbird that it contains the last Thresholder, survivor of a failed mutant genocide – one which her Majestrix vowed not to bury again. 'I expect you'll honor that' Kwannon adds. 'I cut the stars apart to get back to Xandra. She can tell me what she's vowed hersell -' Deathbird starts to respond, before Delphos grins and asks 'Dont' you see, you damn Chak'balaar? I preconceied this...and waited. I know what happens next and don't care. It's worth it to get to tell you that, despite your struggle..we've already executed your traitorous niece'. Deathbird looks shocked by this revelation, and responds by slashing her claws across Delphos' back. Delphos goes wide-eyed – the pain doesn't even strike her, as her body is sliced in hard by Deathbird's razor-sharp claws. 'Oh god...' Somnus utters, covering his mouth in shock. 'That bird's got style' Cassandra smirks.

'You promised they'd stand -' Gladiator begins, but Deathbird cuts him off, delcaring that the trial is over, and Delphos' lackeys can rot in inquiry. 'As for the Kin's crime, I have never hidden a second of my life. I accept every moment. It seems I taught my niece well. Her vow was true. I will honor it' Deathbird adds. She turns to the Marauders and tells them that the drive is theirs, that their ship will be repaired, and their past will be reckoned with. 'Any who disapprove may speak with me' Deathbird snarls.

Soon, on Chandilar, the Shi'ar Throneworld, where Xandra has taken her rightful place on the throne. Deathbird and Oracle stand to her right, while Gladiator and Fang are at her left. The Marauders stand before Xandra, who addresses them and thanks them for their service on behalf of both the Shi'ar and Krakoan peoples. 'The Kin Crimson were cowards. They led us astray. Today, I right our path' Xandra announces, adding that honorless blood was shed by their ancestors, and the Shi'ar do not celebrate butchers. 'A long debt is to be paid, my friends. That begins with today's ritual'. The Imperial Guard member called Fang steps forward, holding a Fang costume, he addresses Daken as the son of Itsu and Logan. 'In our culture, the warrior title of Fang is won in nigh-mortal combat. You killed the Chronicle, deliveringb a good and needed death to a Lupak traitor'. Daken takes the costume as Fang tells him that once, his father stole their colors, and now, in thanks, they offer them freely. 'I...accept with blood and humility, I accept' Daken responds, as Fang places the bone necklace around Daken's neck. Daken smiles at Aurora, and puts an arm around Somnus, who gushes 'Look at you, Aki! An honorary space warrior!'

Xandra keeps true to her word, and the symbiote mutant Zzxz is reborn from the scraps Nova took of the Crimson Kin's Wet Skin weapon, and though its X-Gene remains a mmystery, Zzxz finds a new host with the Shi'ar warrior called Warbird.

Somnus renewed Krakoa's unity with the Shi'ar in his own way, sleeping with the Imperial Guard member called Neutron, and waking with the knowledge of gravitational forces and a taste for Stygian fashion.

Xandra's brief absence from the throne becomes the stuff of rumor and propaganda, perhaps it is fitting she died to reveal the First Blood Spilled.

'The truth of the Shi'ar's first meeting with mutants. What started with blood ended as only it could...' Kwannon remarks as she sits at the Green Lagoon bar back on Krakoa. As Mammomax, Marrow, Skin, Warpath, Thunderbird, Glob Herman and Pixie sit and stand nearby, listening to her story. Kwannon reveals that Xandra ordered Warbird to hunt down and expose the rest of the Kin Crimson, and while the Marauders have the timedrive with their oldest ancestor inside, they can't open it. 'Sounds like you need to eat' a voice calls out. It's John Greycrow, Kwannon's lover, and she tells him that she is starving.

Greycrow brings some food over to Kwannon and tells her that without her, the Marauders would be lost. 'Bishop is overextended as Captain Commander. Pryde is a dreamer, albeit a compelling one' Kwannon replies 'Sounds exhausting' Greycrow remarks as he kisses Kwannon. 'I did say I was starving' Kwannon responds, before telling him that not everyone has been as she expected – Nova for example, knew her gifts were evolving before she did. 'Sure. And I'm right here when you want to bury that old lady as a thank you' Greycrow smiles. 'You are my first call if recreational murder is required, John. After the gala, perhaps it would be nice to get through one of them without a scandal' Kwannon responds.

Days later, in the Arbor Magna, Kate Pryde has been returned to life, and sits cross-legged as she remarks 'The Hellfire Gala. The only sequel that really does hit twice as hard as the first. Bishop said you asked for me?' A broken resurrection egg can be seen nearby, someone has emerged from it. 'My dying words, Captain. But dying words aren't last words. Not here. Not in this time. You'll forgive me a trip to see Mister Carnation. After all I've been through'. A young woman wearing a green and black costume with some yellow gloves and shoulder pads and a blue cape appears and introduces herself: 'Cerebra needed to step out in style!'

Characters Involved: 

Aurora, Bishop, Daken, Cassandra Nova, Kate Pryde, Psylocke II, Somnus, Tempo (all Marauders)

Professor X







Fang VI, Gladiator, Neutron VI, Oracle (all Imperial Guard)

Warbird II



Delphos the Red


Krag guards


Glob Herman, Mammomax, Marrow, Pixie III, Skin, Thunderbird, Warpath


(in the past)

Nemesis IV/Holocaust


Barnacle, Delgado, Exodus, Rem-Ram, Senyaka, Amelia Voght (all Acolytes)




Story Notes: 

Xandra was executed in Marauders (2nd series) #3.

Rem-Ram and Barnacle first appeared in X-Men: The Magneto War #1, which was released well after the events of X-Men (2nd series) #42-44, thus this flashback retroactively places them aboard Avalon.

Delgado actually died in X-Men (2nd series) #3 following Asteroid M's destruction, and was briefly resurrected during the “Necrosha” event which makes it difficult for him be on Avalon during its destruction.

Somnus refers to spending a night with Red Lotus. Red Lotus is an ally of Storm's X-Treme X-Men team, aiding the team in X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #5-12 and returning in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #453-454.

This issue includes a note from Oracle to Xandra, in which Oracle informs Xandra that her death and resurrection is not common knowledge, and that the Kin Crimson sleeper agents will no doubt want revenge for what happened to Delphos. Oracle notes that a time of unrest is upon the Shi'ar Empire.

Presumably the Fang and Neutron who appear briefly this issue are the latest holders of those names and not earlier versions.

This issue includes a memo from Bishop to Kate Pryde, informing her that a young woman from the future was dropped off at Krakoa who died with Kate's name on her lips, and once she was resurrected, Kate was brought forward in the resurrection queue.

The Cerebra who appears this issue is not the Cerebra from the X-Men 2099 of Earth-928, but the Cerebra of Earth-2099 who previously appeared once in Spider-Man 2099: Exodus #5.

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