Way of X #2

Issue Date: 
July 2021
Story Title: 
Let Us Prey

Si Spurrier (writer), Bob Quinn (artist), Java Tartaglia (color), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Guiseppe Carmuncoli & Marte Gracia (cover artists), Christian Ward (alternate cover), Nick Russell (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Shannon Andrews Ballesteros (assistant editor), Jake Thomas (editor), Jordan D. White (senior 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: 

In his astral form, Legion examines Nightcrawler’s mindscape and finds that someone has been manipulating him. Suggesting they help each other, Legion asks for Nightcrawler’s help. Kurt recruits Pixie, who is currently counseling Loa, and Dr. Nemesis, who is trying to talk a dejected Fabian Cortez into being his guinea pig. Nightcrawler teleports them to Saudi Arabia, where in an Orchis installation David’s brain is used to run a violent simulation. Together the three stop the simulation and Kurt kills David. On Krakoa, the resurrection is begun but Xavier falters at the last moment, refusing to transfer David’s psyche into the new body. No matter, though, as David is powerful enough to do it himself. Magneto tries to invite David to a project he is doing, along with the other Omega Mutants, but David turns him down, making it clear he trusts neither Magneto nor his father. He trusts Kurt. While the others leave for the Hellfire Gala, David reveals to Kurt that the evil presence they have been sensing is Onslaught.

Full Summary: 

David Haller is (at least his astral form) scanning Nightcrawler’s mind. Clearly in pain, Kurt addresses him as Legion and asks him to stop. David in return reminds him he dislikes that name. He probes further and finds something in Kurt’s mind. Kurt stammers they know about the Patchwork Man. Whatever this is, they can figure it out…

His father thinks he’s the Patchwork Man? David realizes. Course he does, he mutters cynically. He turns to Kurt, warning him about a wee bit of psychic surgery. He wishes he could say this won’t hurt…

Nightcrawler screams in pain and suddenly can’t see Legion anymore. David is now inside his mind and is somewhat surprised by the swashbuckler scenery. He had expected something a bit more churchy. He looks down on a ship, where all sailors are Kurt, and calls him a seriously conflicted fella. If it’s any consolation, he thinks it’s not entirely his fault. He pries something loose from the figurehead, then exits Kurt’s head to show him the symbol. It’s a sign someone’s been playing silly buggers in his subconscious. Who? Kurt asks.

Favor for a favor, David smirks. He can’t astral project forever. His body is about ten minutes from causing an extremely nasty accident. He’d hate to tear reality in half without meaning to. Kurt owes him. He leaves some coordinates in Nightcrawler’s mind and suggests he better get to Krakoa and get some muscle. Better yet, fetch some brains. He disappears.

In the Green Lagoon tiki bar sits a bored-looking Fabian Cortez, while Dazzler is on stage. Sitting down next to him, Dr. Nemesis remarks that he knows that expression: when a sentient being is sitting around listening to this aural leprosy in the middle of the day, one infers things are not going well in his life. He doesn’t like Dazzler? Cortez asks without looking up. Nemesis rhetorically asks, does he enjoy being stabbed repeatedly in his parietal lobe by the specious wordfarts of a weaponized human disco ball? No, he does not. Cortez admits, he liked the one she did with the Inuit throat singing and the electric bagpipes. Nemesis concludes he is in a worse state than he originally thought.

Dazzler finishes her set and announces she is doing a set at the Hellfire Gala that night.

Cortez reveals that he got fired. That idiotic space station – he was basically the one holding it together. He saved them all. And what does he get for his trouble? Replaced. Humiliated! Now he can’t even get an invite to the gala. Nemesis interrupts that he doesn’t care. He just wants to exploit him to test experimental psychedelics. He finds pathetic people reliably incautious.

Dazzler sits down at the bar and suggests he not peddle that junk here. He might say the same of her fatuous harpy screeching, he replies haughtily. He’ll have her know he is conducting important science with Mr.… Mr.… Dazzler introduces Fabian Cortez. As in the fanatic who worshipped Magneto? Nemesis bursts out. Cortez is surprised that Dazzler knows his name while Nemesis continues, ranting as he describes Cortez like an energy drink with a man bun who murdered dozens of perfectly productive people in the name of his insane quasi-religious ambitions. Cortez weakly protests he never hurt people. Just humans. He sips his wine.

That moment, Nightcrawler teleports in. He asks Dr. Nemesis if he has had dealings with David Haller. Yes, of course, Nemesis replies. Actually, he spent a year keeping him sedated while cataloguing his dangerous mental disfunctions, but David never so much as thanked him for… Kurt interrupts him and states he is coming with him. Wait.

At a table in the Green Lagoon sit Loa and Pixie, who seems somewhat bored while Loa gushes about Mercury’s Gala outfit, making it pretty clear that she is crushing on her. She asks Pixie if she can ask Mercury to come to the gala with them, strictly platonic, not as her… she stammers. Her date, Pixie grins.

Kurt comes running toward them and tells Pixie he needs her help. He begins dragging her. Pixie reminds him he can teleport crazy far himself these days. He doesn’t need… It’s not teleporting, he begins, then stops when the long-limbed woman who calls herself Lost enters the bar. She addresses him. He interrupts, stating that he would like to talk to her. It’s just…

That moment, Legion telepathically reminds him that it’s urgent. Kurt apologizes for having to run out on her and promises they will talk. He teleports away.

Cortez snaps at her nastily. As a result, Lost loses control over her gravity power, leading to everyone nearby projectile-vomiting.

Rhub-al-Klali,Saudi Arabia:
Nightcrawler, Pixie and Dr. Nemesis end up in a desert outside a high-tech vessel with a large hole in the wall and several dead people lying on the ground. Nemesis explains it’s an Orchis facility. Inside, David Haller’s astral form explains: As for what happened - he did. They are a wee bit late… They are doing the Scottish accent again, are they, Nemesis groans. What fun.

Pixie greets him shyly. David glares at Kurt and tells him well played. He is a better pragmatist than a priest. Crazy old Legion eh? All that power, but he’s lost control more often than the Hulk tore his pants. Makes sense to bring a lass with a magic dagger in her soul. Just in case.

Pixie wants to express her condolences about Blindfold’s death. Turning away, David asks her not to talk about Ruth. He’s not in the right headspace. He points toward a brain being kept in a device, his brain, all that’s left of him. And they kicked him out of that too. A favor for a favor.

Kurt begins to realize what this is about. He asks Nemesis to stay outside and monitor, while he and Pixie are entering David’s head, where his different personalities are slaughtering each other.

Dr. Nemesis warns the others that David’s internal energies are at overwhelming capacity. There have been several discharges already. Hence the crispy-fried scientists. They’ll only get stronger.

Looking at his brain, David tells Kurt he doesn’t even know how those buggers got him. Kidnapped, cloned… All he remembers is Ruth’s voice in the dark: “inevitable.” Then he was in there, his brain – the same old circus. Oh, he got things running smoothly but he kept wondering. Did she mean him? Is he inevitable? He’s died more times than he can count. He erased himself from history – just to show the crappy universe nobody rules him except him. Always came back, like it or not. Always playing second fiddle to the voices in his head. Always defined by the sickness, not the strength. Always bloody Legion instead of David. Well, the Orchis bastards took that away, too. Used their drugs and their machines to lock him back out. And for what? To see what happens when the animals get run of the zoo? So bloody what? Why bother? … Anomie, Dr. Nemesis replies.

In David’s head, Nightcrawler and Pixie have been fighting off the personalities. Now they are on the run. Kurt asks for clarification.

Dr. Nemesis explains his theory: David’s mind is a notional reality populated by an infinite supply of autonomous beings representing different powers. As long as David is in charge, he can pacify them. Use them, but if he’s not around… Anomie: the derangement of the infinite. It’s a hypothetical decay affecting society with no limit. Meaninglessness begets alienation. Desire leads to sadism and self-destruction. Before you know it, your neighbor is eating your face, and you’re too busy pouring anthrax into the water supply to care.

Pixie and Kurt realize Orchis are using Legion’s brain to simulate Krakoa and its collapse. Inevitable, David announces gloomily. Inevitable it may be, fast it is not, Nemesis corrects him. Those Orchis maniacs got impatient. They introduced some invasive exotic to speed up the fall in David’s mindscape.

A device mows through the streets chasing them. Pixie destroys it with her souldagger but the destruction of David’s brain does not stop. It’s too late for that. David warns them the next discharge will be a bloody world one. There is only one way to stop this. The science of homicide? Nemesis asks agitated, offering to do it. He has an oscillating liquefaction revolver he has been itching to use. Kurt announces he will do it. A favor for a favor. Pixie tells him he doesn’t have to, referring to his faith.

Kurt addresses David: He doesn’t like being called Legion. Did he know a Nightcrawler is a type of worm? It’s blue and it’s disgusting. Not a clever insult, but it’s one he heard many times as a child. So, he took it and he made it his. David is not his flaws. And if destroying a lump of empty meat will help him to start afresh? To rule himself? Perhaps there are sins worth sinning. He asks the others to get out then aims the gun at David’s brain. He begins to pray, “Father, forgive me for…” then decides never mind and fires.

Krakoa is engulfed by silence that everybody notices. As one, the Five begin a new resurrection task together. Sensing that something extraordinary is going on others join them to watch, including the Xorn brothers and Magneto and Xavier, who decides that David is too unstable. He could tear everything they built down. He is sorry, but he won’t install David’s consciousness in a new body. Not until he is sure it’s safe!

What he doesn’t count on is David doing it himself. Xavier stammers his name. All right, Dad? Legion asks and points at his Cerebro helmet. He looks like a crap astronaut. Xavier is speechless.

He apologizes, but they are about to… David waves him off. The Hellfire Gala, he knows. Showing off to the world. Always something more important, eh? Don’t let David keep him.

Xavier asks him to promise… While creating himself some pants David replies he won’t embarrass him. Shiny new brain. It takes a while before the voices get loud. But do him a favor. He smirks. Call him Legion.

Magneto tells him he has a project underway, something earth-shaking. Several other omegas are involved. He would welcome his partici… David cuts him off with a simple “no.” He doesn’t trust him. Xavier protests that Magneto is one of their m… He doesn’t trust him either, David bluntly tells his father. Not yet. There are secrets here – secrets and shadows. He can smell the first on both of them. And the second? Seems to him, Kurt is the only one even looking.

He takes Kurt in a semi-headlock. He’s been in Kurt’s head. It’s chockful of questions, but he is not pretending he’s got the answer - that he trusts.

He turns away from his father staying at Kurt’s side. He tells them to plan their fireworks and get drunk, have a giggle. If they need him to pick up the pieces, that’s no bother. Go build their empire. He’ll be here helping Captain Earthwork with the hearts and minds. He grins at Kurt. Favor for a favor.

They step outside Arbor Magna. Nightcrawler appreciates the vote of confidence, but he has no idea what he is doing. David retorts he can see the picture in Kurt’s mind of the outfit he is going to war that night. Seems to him he knows exactly what he is doing. He’s been watching this place. They let their council make three laws. That tells you, most of them are prepared to play fair, or pretend to. He’s not saying the laws are right. But they are a start.

Kurt muses it sounds like David thinks Krakoa needs police more than priests. David smiles. He doesn’t think there is a word yet for what Krakoa needs, but he’s pretty sure Kurt’s it.

Kurt asks about the poisonous coin David found in his head. He’s thinking Orchis already took what they learned from Legion and used it on them. He is thinking they have introduced this invasive exotic. The snowball is already rolling. Does he know who the Patchwork Man is?

Yes, he does, David grimly admits. He can sense him clear as day. And here’s a good reason he won’t tell his dad or Magneto. Parents don’t always think straight when it comes to their heirs. It’s bloody Onslaught

Characters Involved: 

Dazzler, Dr. Nemesis, Fabian Cortez, Loa, Magneto, Pixie III, Professor X
Egg, Elixir, Hope, Proteus, Tempus (The Five)
Xorn, Zorn

Story Notes: 

Text pages:

An Orchis communiqueExcerpt of the Book of [redacted] describing how Kurt killed Legion

Further notes:
The Hellfire Gala takes place in all August 2021 X-titles.

Cortez got fired in SWORD (2nd series) #5.

Onslaught was last seen in Onslaught Unleashed.

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