Uncanny X-Men (4th series) #18

Issue Date: 
April 2017
Story Title: 

Cullen Bunn (writer), Edgar Sallazar (penciler), Ed Tadeo (inker), Rain Beredo (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Caramagna (letterer), Ken Lashley & Nolan Woodard (cover artists), Juan Doe (variant cover artist), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Mark Paniccia (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (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: 

Xorn is in New Attilan, with the Sleeper mutants. He watches over the civilian Inhumans. Archangel is also present, keeping watch from above. Xorn considers what has happened to the X-Men, to the Inhumans and the Sleepers due to this war. Shaw challenges Xorn – he believes the Inhumans should be locked up, not watched over. Several Inhumans, including Ren Kimura who only happened to be in New Attilan, come across the area where the Sleepers are watching over civilian Inhumans. They are attacked by the Sleepers, and try to escape from New Attilan. This leads to a battle between the Sleepers and the Inhumans. Shaw gets in on the action, and after kilking an Inhuman, breaks Xorn's helmet open, releasing his dangerous powers which sweep through the area, killing two of the Sleepers. Xorn casts Shaw out of New Attilan, but the Sleepers start to attack him for killing two of their number – until Archangel enters the fray and a calming effect flows over the Sleepers. Xorn decides that for mutants and Inhumans to heal, those who cannot be trusted must vanish, and he leaves New Attilan, with Archangel keeping watch over the Sleepers.


Full Summary: 

New Attilan, where several non-combatant Inhumans go about their business, like clearing debris from demolished statues in a garden that surrounds a temple. They are observed by Shen Xorn, who thinks to himself that it is not in the fury of battle that wars are won, that victory is not grasped ber generals gathered in their councils, rather, it is in the quiet moments, when cacophonous volley has subsided, when strategies have been played out, that the conqueror endures or falters. Children are gathered, and they look out from under a tree where they seek shade, over to where Archangel soars in the sky overhead, watching over the civilian Inhumans, and several mutants in black spandex surround this peaceful area. Xorn decides that war is a forge, and that when it cools, everything that passed through the hearth is reshaped and the future is cast.

The civilians try to avoid the gazes of the black-clad mutants, who are known as “Sleepers”. Xorn tells himself that he is not unchanged by this conflict, and that he thought himself a shepherd to the Sleepers, mutants who only wanted to escape death – but as they guard the Inhumans, he realizes that he has turned his flock into wolves. 'They promised' one of the Sleeper mutants utters as he watches the Inhumans.

'I am ashamed' Xorn tells himself. He kneels in the Inhumans' temple and admits that he is humbled by his own capacity for betrayal. A figure approaches Xorn and announces that thery should talk. Xorn knows without turning around that Sebastian Shaw stands behind him, and asks him to take a moment, to look around. 'Is this temple... this Inhuman temple... not breathtaking?' he asks, adding that he is certain this place fills its visitors with peace and hope. 'And we have taken it from them' he laments.

'Only in the interim, Xorn' Shaw replies, declaring that the Inhumans can have their sanctuary back once mutantkind is safe from the Terrigen Mists. Xorn stands up and tells Shaw that it sounds quite simple when he says it like that. Xorn asks Shaw if he thinks the Inhumans will ever regain their own sense of safety now that they have seen how quickly it can be ripped away from them? Shaw asks Xorn to forgive him, or not, for speaking bluntly, but he could not care less about how the Inhumans feel, as for months they have wallowed in their peace, their hope, while mutants fell prey to trhe Terrigen Cloud. Xorn remarks that it is no wonder Shaw has risen to his lofty station in life, as he is a charismatic man, and he almost convinced Xorn that he ever cared about the threat to their people.

Shaw shakes a finger at Xorn and tells him that he is making a mistake here, and that his misplaced guilt makes him careless. 'You allow these Inhumans to roam their city freely. This is  a recipe for disaster' Shaw warns Xorn. Xorn assures Shaw that their prisoners are not a threat to anyone and reminds him that they are being watched over by the Sleepers, which is as Magneto wished. 'Magneto's not here right now' Shaw declares as Xorn turns and walks away from him. 'No. Otherwise you would not have so openly opposed his wishes' Xorn responds. Shaw clenches his fists and tells Xorn not to walk away from him, as they are not done. 'That is why we are here, is it not? That is why we embrace atrocity. So that we will not be “done”. So that the mutant race will preserve.

'No matter the cost' Xorn declares as he walks outside, in amongst Sleeper mutants and Inhuman civilians. Archangel continues to watch from above, as the Inhumans turn to Xorn, and he can feel their eyes on him. He knows they are afraid, that many of them believe their days are numbered, and that mutants will not forgive and forget – that they will seek retribution against the Inhumans even after the sacred Terrigen Cloud is destroyed. Xorn is unable to tell them that their fear is unwarranted. Several children approach him and he tells them to go and play, and that with any luck, this will all be over soon. The children turn and run. 'Don't let him get us!' one of them shouts. 'Don't look into his eyes!' another calls out. Xorn looks over to several Sleepers, and he feels their eyes upon him, too, but it is not fear behind their stare. He reminds himself that he promised them sanctuary, seclusion, that they did not want to be used as weapons, and yet, here they are, loaded guns pointed at their hostages. 'And you, Archangel... are not listening, are you?' Xorn realize as he looks up at the winged X-Man.

Outside of the temple grounds, six Inhumans have gathered and examine their surroundings. Among them are two blonde women wearing blue costumes, an orange-skinned monstrous Inhuman, an elderly man with an oversized head, a metallic-like bald woman and a young woman in a pink and purple costume with metal gloves. 'There are so many of them' one of the blonde women remarks. She asks what they can do, as they are never going to get past all those mutants, but she knows that if they don't, then they are not going to be able to help Queen Medusa. The woman in the pink and purple costume turns to the blonde woman and asks her what her name is. She introduces herself as Treste, and refers to her sister, in the greenish-blue costume, as Irelle. The pink and purple clad woman introduces herself as Ren, and tells the others that she knows they are scared – she is, too, but that she needs them to focus for her.

Ren reminds the other Inhumans that this is their city, and she was just passing through. She asks them if they know why the mutants are so mad, and the older Inhuman with the large head tells her that it is the mists – the Terrigen Mists are killing them. 'Killing them? Well, not to be a jerk, but that sounds like a pretty good reason to be mad' Ren declares. The metallic woman exclaims that it does not give them the right to attack like this, and suggests that they could have tried to negotiate with the Queen. 'If the shoe was on the other foot, what would the Inhumans do?' Ren asks. The others don't answer, so Ren points out that it doesn't matter now, as battle lines have been drawn, and she is not one to let herself be caged. 'We're getting out of here' she informs the others. Treste reveals that she and Irelle have not undergone Terrigenesis, so they have no powers, and adds that if the mutants have their way, they may never be blessed. 'But we can still help' she announces, as Irelle reveals that they know the city fairly well and may be able to find a route out of here.

Ren tells them that it is too late for that, and now they have to decide if they are going to give up or go hard. 'What do you -' Treste begins, before Ren announces that they have been caught. Indeed, two female Sleepers appear above and move towards the Inhumans. 'What have we got here? A little rebellion forming in the shadows?' the female mutant riding some green cloud asks, while a woman with a starburst effect around her feet orders them all out of the alley, and tells them that nobody has to get hurt here. Ren turns back to the other Inhumans and asks them what it is going to be. 'I am not staying here. We fight' the monstrous Inhuman declares, while the older Inhuman tells the others to go, that he will hold the two mutants off. The mutant on the cloud screams as the older Inhuman enters her mind, forcing her to send her acid cloud towards the other Sleeper, who tells her to watch it, as she directs the cloud away. 'I can't! He's controlling me!' the acid-cloud mutant calls out.

Ren, Treste, Irelle and the other two Inhumans start to run, and Ren calls out to the sisters, telling them if they know a way out, then now is the time to start sharing. 'This way, come on!' Treste exclaims as she leads the others, but suddenly, everyone comes to a stop, as Xorn appears nearby and tells them that he knows they are confused, but that now is not the time for rash action. Flanked by a dozen Sleepers. 'I would suggest that we try -' Xorn begins, but is interrupted as Ren leaps towwards him, releasing a ribbon-like effect that spirals around her, she strikes Xorn in his face and tells him that the time for rational discussion has passed – for both of them. 'Of course they fight. Though they did not want to be here...did not want to be forced into this situation...any more than we mutants did' Xorn thinks to himself as the large Inhuman knocks back three of the Sleepers.

Xorn observes that they fight with everything they have, that they are young, their gifts are new to them – being Inhuman is new to them – and they are angry. The metallic Inhuman throws shards towards a woman with long hair, striking her wrist and shoulder. Xorn knows that the Sleepers wanted nothing more than to avoid conflict as well, so they, too, are angry. The bald Sleeper with the beard takes possession of the metallic woman, and Xorn notes that some of them turn their ire against the prisoners, but others, so many of the others, seethe at their real enemy – the one who promised them peace, the one who lied, as the large monstrous Inhuman slams two of the Sleepers aside, 'You hurt me, mutant! I'm gonna return the favor!' he calls out. The bearded Sleeper uses his power to transform Irelle into a de-evolved state. 'Irelle? Are you -' Treste calls out to her sister, while Xorn decides that he is angry as well, no matter how stridently he tries to keep his emotions in check. Ren tosses her ribbon like power against Xorn, while the children start to throw rocks towards him. 'Leave us alone!' one of them shouts. 'Get out of here!' another yells. 'Monster!' a third shouts, while a shadowy figure approaches them from behind.

It's Sebastian Shaw – and Xorn is angry – because Shaw was right. 'I warned you, Xorn! Squelch this quickly! Before you have a city wide riot on your hands!' Shaw tells Xorn as he pushes the children over. The Inhumans struggle to fend Shaw off, but they only fuel his strength, his righteousness. 'You picked the wrong party, fancy pants!' the monstrous Inhuman shouts as he punches Shaw, he is knocked back, but he grins as he turns back to the Inhuman and tells him that he is right where he is supposed to be. Xorn sees it in Shaw's malice-filled eyes – he has won – and it gives him all the justification for cruelty and violence he will ever need, as he shoves his fist into the Inhuman's chest.

Xorn tries to soothe them, and calls out to them all, asking them to stop this, telling them that they do not need to fight and that no one else needs to get hurt. But they don't listen. To the mutants and the Inhumans, Xorn is their jailer. The Inhumans are outnumbered and they are scared. The mutated Irelle lunges towards Treste, who calls out to her, pleading her not to. Xorn pities the Inhumans, as they have no chance of escape. The non-combantant Inhumans attack the Sleepers and Shaw as well, and Xorn realizes that they now know what it feels like to be mutants. Suddenly, 'That's enough... from all of you!' Archangel calls out as he flies down and tosses several razor-sharp feathers amongst the crowd, striking some of them. Xorn decides that the Inhumans have been taught a lesson that no one should be so unfortunate to learn. Xorn asks Shaw to let Archangel's neurotoxin do its work, pointing out that they are pacified. 'We don't -' Xorn begins, putting a hand on Shaw's shoulder. Shaw responds by punching Xorn, knocking him backwards and telling him to get his hands off of him.

Power starts to pour from Xorn's broken helmet. A brilliant light shines over the area, and Shaw shields himself from the energies that Xorn has struggled to control. 'Oh...good...not they're fighting each other' Ren remarks as she sits with the monstrous Inhuman. Shaw is knocked backwards by Xorn's power that has been pent up for so long. It hurts him to let loose, but it feels so good. One of the Sleepers screams as the energy rushes past her. Shaw takes the brunt of the blast, as the energies hurl him from New Attilan, where he lands in the habor nearby. This part was not instinctful, but purposeful. Xorn knows that with the Black King gone, they can work on healing and mending the relationshups between Inhumans and mutants. The Sleepers and Inhumans gather themselves as the energies dies down, only a small trail of it radiates from Xorn's helmet. '...I am... in control' Xorn announces, before looking over to the two Sleepers who were caught in his energy torrent and sees that they are dead.

'Look what he did!' one of the Sleepers calls out. 'He killed them!' another exclaims. 'He killed mutants!' a third shouts. The mutants are beyond Xorn's ability to heal them. He did not see them. He did not know they were there. 'Get him!' one of the Sleepers suggests to the others. 'He wanted us to be killers!' one of the Sleepers shouts. 'Give him what he wants!' one of them tells the others. But before they can strike Xorn, Archangel swoops down in front of him and tells them all to calm themselves. A light shines from above Archangel and the Sleepers come to a halt. Xorn looks up at Archangel and realizes that his light brings peace, and from one who was made to be a weapon.

Xorn looks over at the monstrous Inhuman, who appears to be dead as Ren has thrown herself over him, while the metallic Inhuman and elderly Inhuman with the large head kneel at her side. Xorn remarks that he understands now, he sees the path that is before him. He thought he was ready, he thought he could be ttrusted with his powers, as a shepherd – but that job must fall to another. The Sleepers are still enthralled by Archangel, who Xorn is referring to. Xorn turns and walks away, stating that for the world to heal, for mutants and Inhumans to heal, those who cannot be trusted, those who cannot trust themselves, must vanish, as if te forge itself had burned to ash. 

Characters Involved: 


Xorn II

Sebastian Shaw

Ren Kimura

Irelle, Treste


Unnamed Sleeper Mutants

Unidentified Inhumans

Story Notes: 

This issue ties into the Inhumans vs X-Men storyline.

Ren Kimura previously appeared in Fearless Defenders #10-12, also written by Cullen Bunn.

Magneto and Medusa appear on the cover to this issue but not in the issue itself.

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