New Mutants (4th series) #5

Issue Date: 
January 2020
Story Title: 
Endangered Birds

Jonathan Hickman (writer), Rod Reis (artist), VC’s Travis Lanham (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Rod Reis (cover artist), Arthur Adams & Federico Blee (variant cover artists), Nick Russell (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Chris Robinson (assistant 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: 

Current Shi’ar Majestor Gladiator waits for Deathbird and her entourage to arrive on Chandilar. His aide Oracle secretly orders the Shi’ar Death Commandos to assassinate Deathbird and destroy the ship she travels on. Unaware of events, on said ship Sunspot is trying to flirt with Deathbird, while Mondo and Chamber feel sidelined by the other mutants. They are hailed by the Death Commandos, who announce they will send a boarding party. Cypher has decrypted their messages and reveals their real plan is to send another secret boarding party, kill them and destroy the ship. Magik takes command, sends the rest of the team to handle the official boarding party while she will handle the secret one. Chamber and Mondo opt out. The mutants are successful, which unfortunately means that the Death commandos’ leader has their ship destroyed and they all end up in the deadly vacuum of space.

Full Summary: 

Traveling to Shi’ar space to visit their friend Cannonball, the New Mutants got involved in a Starjammer heist, landed in spacejail and been freed by Cannonball and his wife Smasher of the Imperial Guard. In the following, they become involved in Smasher’s mission to recruit Deathbird, with whom Sunspot instantly fell in lust. Less interested, Deathbird orders him to stop staring.

Chandilar, Shi’ar throne world:
Regent Gladiator stands at the window and asks if there is any word. Current head of the Imperial Guard Mentor and telepath Oracle inform him that they have Deathbird and are in transit now. Three stargates from here. They assume less than three cycles of travel. Oracle points out that the return of Deathbird is a delicate situation, as many of the ruling class may object to her return. She suggests they keep it quiet for now. While hiding goes against Gladiator’s nature, he admits Oracle’s counsel is wise.

Oracle leaves and gives the intel to the Shi’ar Death Commandos, including the ship Deathbird travels on. She’ll be locking the ship out of Imperial channels as soon as they leave, Oracle promises. Nobody will hear its cry for help when they strike. She orders them to kill Deathbird and leave no one alive to tell what happened.

One day later on Smasher’s ship:
Looking at space, the two odd men out (Chamber and Mondo) talk. Chamber complains they might as well have stayed at home. Mondo points out all the excitement they would have missed. Chamber continues, he was promised a space empire and all he got was space prison. Expectations have not been met. Speaking of expectations – this is the first time Mondo has been around this crowd. What does he think? Mondo muses, the girls are all fine, he guesses… except for Illyana. She’s… an animal, Chamber suggests. He agrees. What about the guys? Mondo shrugs, he could take them or leave them. Especially that Doug. That kid’s up to something. He is interrupted when they see a stargate opening.

On the bridge, the pilot announces they are ready to pass through the gate. Smasher reminds him of their precious cargo. Doug asks if he can send the access codes, and is ordered not to touch anything.

Sam is trying to talk Sunspot into not doing this. Bobby is unimpressed, since Sam always does that. Sam reminds him he is also usually right. Bobby insists this is about the other moments. The outliers, the perfect little miracles… besides, he has a feeling about this. Sam repeats, do not do this.

Smasher joins them and asks “do not do what?” Sam orders Bobby to tell her. Pointing at Deathbird, Bobby explains he’s gonna talk to the hot bird lady. Smasher reminds him the “bird lady” is the former majestrix and soon to be regent of the new empress. She’s a bit out of his league. Bobby protests he loves powerful women. He respects them. Smasher dryly informs him Deathbird has a kid. Undeterred, Bobby continues that what he loves more than powerful women is single moms. That’s a hard job. Wish him luck! He approaches Deathbird. Sam and Smasher decide if they didn’t love him so much, they’d have to kill him.

Bobby introduces himself to Deathbird. She harumphes. Roberto continues by enumerating his powers. Great fighter. Better lover. And he should probably mention he’s superrich. He buys small countries. It’s not a big deal, he humblebrags. Taken aback, Deathbird replies that she is Cal’syee and her blood is the ancient blood of house Neramani. Their nobility reaches back millennia and they are not rich. They are wealthy. She buys planets. It is a big deal. Bobby replies how refreshing it is to have someone interested in him because of his looks and not his money. This is an incredible gift, and he wants to thank her for it.

The captain informs Smasher that an imperial dreadnaught was waiting for them on the other side of the stargate. They’ve jammed all their comms and sent them a one-word message: Surrender.

On the Death Commandoes’ ship, the leader Black Cloak asks for the status. He is informed that, if their target tries to make a run for it, they can drill a hole in their ship with one shot. He’s also gene-locked on the Neramani. He can orb them at any time but it will space their ship before the Commandoes can confirm a total blackout. Black Cloak gives the order to send them a message that they are suspected of carrying contraband and they will send a team over. One boarding party? Zero out the whole crew? Field leader Flaw asks skeptically. Two, Black Cloak amends and orders them to return with Deathbird intact. He wishes to take her head himself. So ordered, so it will be done, Flaw replies and promises to return soon with the rebel.

On the other ship, the female New Mutants join Smasher, Cypher Cannonball and the staff on the bridge and ask what’s going on. The captain replies that the other ship sent a message informing him they will send a boarding party. After that, they went back to jamming their signals and sent encrypted comms.

Cypher asks Smasher for permission to decipher the comm. He does so and states the gist. They are the Shi’ar Death Commandoes. They are sending a cloaked second boarding squad and… they are planning to kill everyone aboard, he finds… to cover up them killing her. He points at Deathbird. Smasher asks Deathbird why Chandilar would do that after sending them to find her. Deathbird seems unsurprised. She is a problem politically. She represents a return of the Neramani line to the throne. She’s sure whoever sent this team thinks the only available solution is killing her. Sunspot stage-whispers he is not going to let that happen.

Magik announces that, since this is a battle, she is in charge. Smasher asks what she’s going on about and Mirage explains she’s a captain. It’s a Krakoan thing.

Magik orders Mirage, Karma and Wolfsbane to the docking bay and handle the boarding party. She tells Karma to have Mondo and Chamber meet them there.

Magik turns to Smasher, who interrupts pointing out this is a Shi’ar vessel doing Shi’ar business under Superguardian control. She’s sure Magik thinks she’s tough, but she has a mission. That’s why they, Magik refers to Smasher, Cannonball and Sunspot, are standing guard over Deathbird. She summons her Soulsword and a teleportation disk. Sunspot asks where she is going. She is handling the other boarding party, she replies.

Mondo is sitting in the lounge while Chamber is getting them both a cocktail. Mondo informs him that Karma is calling them to help fight some alien dudes in the cargo bay.

Chamber sits down and asks Mondo if he wants to go fight. Not really, he replies, and him? Chamber agrees, they clink their glasses and Chamber toasts to pacifism and to whatever it takes to stay out of space jail. So how is he going to drink that without a mouth? Mondo asks. Very carefully, Chamber deadpans.

Elsewhere on the ship, Flaw, Hypernova and Offset gain entrance by cutting a hole into the hull… to be expected by Magik. Pointing at Flaw, she asks if he wants to make out with her. Taking aback, he replies he doesn’t. Illyana asks Offset, who replies she doesn’t have enough arms. She asks Hypernova, who admits she is interested. Unfortunately, she is working. Manifesting her Soulsword, Magik tells them bad call because it was &%$* or fight, and they have chosen poorly. Quick question; are any of them human? They reply in the negative. Now they’re talking, Magik grins.

On the other ship, Black Cloak learns they have lost contact with those three, while the other team are getting their asses kicked by Mirage, Wolfsbane and Karma, who makes her foe take out himself.

Black Cloak gives the order to destroy the other ship. He presses a button, they fire at the ship and soon the other ship is damaged with the passengers now gloating in the vacuum of space.

Characters Involved: 

Cannonball, Chamber, Cypher, Karma, Magik, Mirage, Mondo, Sunspot, Wolfsbane (New Mutants)
Gladiator, Mentor, Oracle, Smasher (Imperial Guard)

Black Cloak, Colony, D’evo, Flaw, Hypernova, Krait, Sega, Shell, Warshot (Death Commandos)

Story Notes: 

Text pages:

A list of the Death Commandoes

Written By: