New Exiles #8

Issue Date: 
September 2008
Story Title: 
Soul Awakening- part 2 of 4

Chris Claremont (writer), Tom Grummett (penciler), Vicente Cifuentes (inker), Wilfredo Quintana (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Joe Sabino (production), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (senior editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Davis, Mark Farmer & Guru eFX (cover)

Brief Description: 

Psylocke awakens from a nightmare involving Slaymaster to find herself a “guest” of Ogun, this reality’s former master of Lady Mandarin. He offers to train Psylocke in the hopes she’ll defeat Slaymaster and avenge his apprentice’s death. Psylocke also learns her mind has been at war for control with Lady Mandarin’s ever since her untimely demise. Meanwhile, Gambit is out on the ocean blue searching for any sign of French aggression. He eventually spots some warships and investigates. He’s attacked by para-normals, but manages to outmaneuver them and destroy two of their ships. After rescuing an unconscious aggressor, Gambit is dragged back down into the water by the Ancient Master of the Ocean. They tell him they want to end the warring, which Gambit explains he was trying to do. Moments later, Queen Fen and her Atlantean entourage show up and after some hasty explanations they all realize they’re on the same team. Fen utilizes her resources, Ro-Ro, weather mistress, and the geothermal power station in the Savage Land, to convince Napoleon to stop his invasion. The power goes out in Paris, but Napoleon doesn’t seem too upset. As a matter of fact, the entire French fleet disappears through teleportation fields and the power to Paris is returned. The ships reappear near Britain and a ground assault begins. Morph and Sage take the queen to safety while Rogue, Mystiq and Prince Jeffrey head to a special school where they recruit a younger group of super-powered beings called Force-X. Back at the Crystal Palace, Cat is still trying to figure out what’s going on with the Omniverse. Heather (Icon) drops some subtle hints, but then she too starts to disappear.

Full Summary: 

Unknown Earth

Psylocke, psychic knives unsheathed, is going toe to toe with her feared enemy, Slaymaster. To her, he’s the ultimate assassin. He’s been visiting other realities killing her alternates because to him she’s “the one who got away.” Psylocke believes he’ll keep going after the various Psylockes until her entire line is wiped out. With this knowledge firmly in hand she knows she has to fight him, but is doubtful of the outcome.
The fight begins and Psylocke is caught off guard, knocked into a throng of various Betsys. One of them, sporting an old-school butterfly psychic signature, is confident that with their combined powers they’ll stop him. The variant Psylockes, including a Captain Britain analogue, attack full force. Surprisingly, each Betsy succumbs to the steel blades wielded by Slaymaster.

It’s all a nightmare and Psylocke awakens with a sharp gasp. She sits upright in her bed, surprised at her surroundings. Psylocke wonders how she got there as the last thing she remembers was a fight. She gets out of bed, now dressed in a robe. Psylocke passes by a mirror and notices the mark of the Crimson Dawn has returned. At first she’s puzzled by it, but then remembers she received it as a Badge of Honor by the Crimson Dawn. Then she corrects herself, remembering she lost the mark after she was brought back to life. Betsy is so confused at this point. It’s as if her memories are at war with each other.
A man sneaks up behind her and tells her she is absolutely correct. Psylocke whips herself around and threatens to attack him for what he’s done. Her opponent quickly dispatches her with a kick to the midsection and a few strikes to the face. He says her skills are nothing compared to his and her desire is even less. He stands over Psylocke as she lies on the carpet amidst shards of broken glass from her impact against a mirror. He introduces himself as Ogun.
Psylocke struggles to her knees. She says the name “Ogun” means nothing to her, yet it feels so familiar. She asks about the dead woman with her face. Ogun pours himself some tea, telling Psylocke she now has her face. Psylocke brushes the back of her hand against the Crimson mark and asks if he’s responsible for the scar. Ogun corrects her, explaining the mark is a reflection of the internal struggle between herself and the soul of his Lady Mandarin. He supposes that after she died her spirit sought a new home. To further drive the point home Ogun asks if Mandarin is her native tongue.
Ogun moves so quickly that Psylocke has no time to react and in an instant she finds herself in a painful chokehold. He tells Elizabeth he has need of her. Psylocke asks what will happen if she refuses. Ogun tells her that would be a mistake. He releases her and says it will benefit them both. Nursing her arm, Psylocke asks why she should trust him. Ogun tells her because he asks. He then notes her will is stronger than Deathstrike’s and finds it interesting she’s afraid, but not of him.
Psylocke disrobes and asks what he wants. Ogun explains a man named Slaymaster took the life of his protégé and that her `life must be answered with his. He asks if she knows him. Psylocke admits she’s the one he’s after and that he’ll slaughter any version of her that exists until he claims his prize.
Ogun notes the fear in her voice and Psylocke admits she’s not good enough to defeat him. Holding out his hand Ogun offers to make her better. Psylocke asks again why she should trust him. Ogun restates that Mandarin was his pupil and her execution an unpardonable insult. He also adds that he’s bound to this world and cannot follow after Slaymaster so the task lies with her. He tells her the choice is hers.
the oceans

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Gambit is biding his time swimming with a pack of dolphins. He’s having an awesome time, the waters the purest he’s ever been in. He leaps from the water and spots a fleet of ships coming in his direction. What’s crazy is they look like the old wooden vessels of yesteryear. It’s as if the military technology hadn’t changed in the last few centuries.
Gambit dives underneath for a closer look. Checking the hulls, he notices they haven’t even been coated with copper to limit water erosion. He figures he can just pop a hole in one of them and send them back home.
A powerful energy blast to the midsection knocks that thought out of his mind. Another discharge comes toward him, but he manages to dodge it. Two characters in scuba gear surround him on either side. Gambit dodges another energy pulse and finally realizes they mean business. He erects an invisible shield to protect himself, but then someone moving very fast in the water comes zooming by and repeatedly hits him from all angles.
Gambit surrounds himself with invisible barriers at all different angles. The “Rocket-Guy”, as Gambit refers to him, doesn’t have enough time to slow down and slams into one of the barricades. The speedster goes unconscious and judging by the armor plates Gambit realizes “he” is a “she”. He swims after his enemy to keep her from drifting into the depths.
Narrowly avoiding the other two scuba characters Gambit grabs the girl and rockets toward the water’s surface. He punches through the rudder of one of the ships and it immediately turns out of control and crashes into the ship behind it. Gambit is proud of his maneuver and thinks they’ll be distracted for a while. His leap out of the water sets him down on another nearby ship where he drops off his lady friend. He takes off her helmet and remarks on her beauty, but wastes no time with pleasantries telling her to give a message to her commander that war is not the answer. He then departs.
Purplish tentacles reach up from the water and ensnare the Atlantean hybrid. Gambit is then dragged down under by a giant squid. He erects a bubble around himself and manages to break free. Gambit quickly takes in his surroundings and finds himself confronted by the giant squid as well as a great white shark, a killer whale and a humpback whale. The squid is upset as he was only trying to help Gambit.
Gambit recognizes who they are, the Great Ancient Masters of the Oceans. He addresses them with reverence and they are shocked that one of the “humans” has the ability to breathe water. They’re also surprised at the level of respect they’re being shown from a surface dweller. The shark warns Gambit to cease the hostilities as they don’t permit war within their realm. Gambit assures him he was only trying to do the same.
A voice from behind asks why the “monkey-human” is not in custody. Gambit turns and finds this Earth’s analogue of his grandmother Fen. Forgetting where he is, he addresses her as so. One of the Atlantean soldiers accompanying her calls him out on it and Fen appears angry. Gambit mentally chastises himself and apologizes. The squid backs him up as a speaker of the truth. Even the shark chimes in to Gambit’s defense and notes the taste of his blood is the same as Fen’s.
One of the Atlanteans is appalled and questions what the humans could have done to her to make this true. Gambit is tired of all the questions and tells them to listen up. He explains he’s the son of Namor and Storm and grandson of Fen, but from a different ocean. He tells them he’s a friend and to not make him a foe. He finishes with a forceful “Imperius Rex!”
The Ancient Masters tell the Atlanteans to be careful of their next move as they stand with the boy. Gambit thanks them for their kindness, but asks that no blood be shed on his behalf. He asks Fen if he can explain. She says she’s listening.
Gambit reiterates his true origins and how Fen was his grandmother and that she married a human, as did his father, which built bonds of peace between land and sea. Fen asks what brought him to their world. Gambit says he and his friends are trying to stop a war. Fen asks if he doesn’t think they can handle it. She assures him they’ve been keeping the global peace for centuries and don’t need his help. Gambit wants to know how she plans on stopping them. Fen hints they have non-Atlantean allies.
Queen Fen follows that up with a radio transmission to Ro-Ro, mistress of the weather. Ro-Ro reports the French are being stubborn. Fen tells her to convince them otherwise. With a laugh, the young woman gathers wisps of cloud until they form a giant mass above the ships. From there Ro-Ro brings the winds and the rain. The seas toss and turn and crews below struggle to keep their ships aloft.
Queen Fen follows this up with simultaneous holographic transmissions to the fleet commander and their emperor, Napoleon. She warns them to stop the violence. Napoleon tells her they have legitimate grievances. She tells him war is not necessary to solve them and reminds him the Atlantean law against military conflict on the oceans has kept the surface world at peace for over two centuries. She further suggests the French need another reminder of the penalties.
Savage Land

One of the men monitoring the power station alerts Ka-Zar they’ve received a signal. Ka-Zar tells him to follow protocol and close the system. Zabu gets a bit ruffled by the alarm, but a calming rub on the top of his head calms the beast down.
Paris, France

It’s nighttime and the bright lights of the city can be seen for miles. That is, until, their geothermal power source from the Savage Land is cut and the entire city goes dark.
the oceans

Queen Fen tells Napoleon to end the war or that will just be the beginning. She will allow power to the hospitals only and the effects will only last through the night as long as he agrees.
The transmission ends and Gambit opines that the two Frenchmen didn’t seem too upset. One of the Atlanteans points out there’s nothing they can do about it and adds that the French will learn their lesson. Fen’s gears begin cranking and she worries otherwise.
A transmission from Ro-Ro appears and she reports the French fleet has been scattered. Fen thanks her and tells her to keep an eye on them. Gambit is taken aback at Ro-Ro, blurting out “You’re a girl!” Ro-Ro replies, “And you’re a boy, so what?” This leads the charming Gambit to tell her she looks a lot like someone he knows back home… only much better looking. Ro-Ro says she likes him too and asks if he has a name. Fen just smiles and thanks Poseidon the two are leagues apart.
One of the Atlantean soldiers draws the Queen’s attention to the holo-displays. The French ships are vanishing out of thin air. Fen recognizes the technology as a teleport field. She orders her troops to get Napoleon on the line immediately.
Paris, France

The call goes through, but Napoleon doesn’t care. He tells one of his men to leave her on hold as she’ll be able to figure things out for herself, that France no longer needs her power. As if on cue, the lights in Paris turn back on.

Bright flashes of light appear above the coastal waters. Coming out of those flashes are the recently transported French ships. As they land in the ocean groups of super-powered beings begin an assault on Britain. Morph orders the Exiles into action. Sage is already underway, snatching the queen and taking off into the air. Morph is shocked as he never knew Sage could fly.
Meanwhile, the city is being destroyed by the French. A paranormal comprised of energy and a rock monster terrorize the citizens while a nearby red-skinned telepathic reports back to the command center that the attack is going as expected, but no sign of the queen.
Back on the command ship, the admiral receives full reports from each attack group. They all say the same thing, no queen. The admiral isn’t pleased and tells them to work harder. He figures the Atlanteans will intervene within the next 24 hours and they’ll need to have the queen surrendered by then or it was all for nothing.
Off in the distance, Rogue, Mystiq and Prince Jeffrey take in the sights of the current battle. Rogue suggests they join the defense, but Mystiq doesn’t like their chances. Jeffrey has another idea and has Rogue take them on another flight, their destination a very special school.
Upon arrival, the prince explains the school has been Britain’s greatest secret for generations and, he hopes, a means for their salvation. Upon entering the school Jeffrey spots the headmistress and asks for word on his mother. Dame Emma Frost removes her glasses and tells the young royal she’s heard nothing by phone, radio or telepathy. She also adds the French have control of Manhattan Island and with no sign of the Atlanteans she fears they’re on their own.
Dame Frost proceeds to address the newcomers and thanks them for rescuing Prince Jeffrey and adds they now have to save the realm. Mystiq adds they have friends that need saving too. Frost says she can offer them some help as her students are the next generation of super-powered beings, whom she calls Force-X.
Crystal Palace

Cat’s still poring over the computer trying to figure out what’s happening to the Omniverse. Heather (Icon) appears and tells her she’s pushing herself too hard. Cat looks at Heather and takes note of the static interference in her image. Heather says she’s a reflection of the greater reality. Cat asks if that means the Omniverse is coming to an end.
Heather says it doesn’t always work like prompting Cat to ask if this has happened before. Heather tells her to stop judging infinite realities by finite rules. Cat says she can’t help it. Heather tells her to broaden her perspectives or she’s not going to do the Omniverse any good. Cat waves her hand at all the systems displayed behind her and asks why the “god folks” didn’t just explain the whole thing was going to end when they put them in charge.
Cat reflects on what she just said. Maybe the Omniverse isn’t supposed to end, but how can they stop it. Cat asks Heather her opinion, but she doesn’t answer. Cat turns around and finds Heather’s body mostly gone at this point.

Characters Involved: 

Cat Pryde, Gambit, Mystiq, Proteus/Morph, Psylocke, Rogue, Sage (all Exiles)

Heather (Icon)
Unknown Earth

Queen, Prince Jeffrey
Professor Emma Frost (Force-X)
Ancient Masters of the Ocean
Queen Fen

‘Ro-‘Ro, Ka-Zar, Zabu (all agents of Queen Fen)


three unidentified French para-normals

French seamen
Psylocke’s dream

Lady Mandarin and other alternate Psylockes


Story Notes: 

Slaymaster’s beef with Psylocke originated in Exiles #94. He was very much looking forward to a battle with her, but much to his dismay Wolverine skewered her and ruined the moment. Shortly after, Slaymaster, Wolvie and Madame Hydra escaped into the multiverse with Psylocke on the verge of death.
At the end of the previous issue Psylocke saw the corpse of this reality’s version of herself, Lady Mandarin.
Following a battle against Sabretooth in which Psylocke suffered mortal wounds, Warren, Wolverine, Ogun and Doctor Strange traveled to the Crimson Dawn realm where Psylocke drank some healing liquid. Immediately afterwards Betsy was branded with the Crimson Dawn mark. (Uncanny X-Men #328-330). Psylocke was later killed in X-Treme X-Men #2 while battling the uber warrior, Vargas. When Psylocke returned courtesy of her brother Jamie one year later she no longer had the mark (Uncanny X-Men #455).
Ogun mentions that Psylocke’s will is stronger than Lady Deathstrike’s. Is this a writing error momentarily confusing Deathstrike with Mandarin or is Ogun referring to another character from his reality?
Sage never had the ability to fly and this addition to her powers will be explained later in the arc.
Sage answers the letters this issue.

Issue Information: 
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