Way of X #4

Issue Date: 
September 2021
Story Title: 
Heirs and Graces

Si Spurrier (writer), Bob Quinn (artist), Java Tartaglia (color), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Guiseppe Carmuncoli & Marte Gracia (cover artists), Ivan Shavrin (cover variant) 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: 

On Mars, Nightcrawler and Legion try to understand Lost’s past with Cortez. She tells them a symbolic story and they realize she needs closure, but Kurt refuses to have Cortez punished for crimes committed before the Amnesty. They are joined by Dust, who is fixing the volcanoes and tides, details the omega mutants forgot when they terraformed Mars. Later, Legion meets Xavier in the Green Lagoon, having asked for a Krakoan Seed. They try to connect but are unable to trust each other. When Xavier and the other patrons show signs of being possessed by Onslaught, Legion and the Xorn brothers kill them. Legion returns to Arakko, where he puts the Krakoan seed inside his head and starts a new project to help Krakoa. Kurt, in the meantime, is in Central Park, where Cortez has expanded Gorgon’s telepathy, making him face the hatred of the surrounding bystanders, intending for Gorgon to kill them or manipulate Nightcrawler into following his demands. Kurt uses some lateral thinking and deescalates the situation by playing the clumsy clown, causing the crowd to laugh and therefore Gorgon to relax. He grabs Cortez and threatens him with a meaningful conversation…

Full Summary: 

Lost’s narration:
In the bleakest of the drought days, the Allclan came together. The Bear Clan salted game, the dynasties of Beetle and Bee gathered nectar… and the great jeweled birds brought water for all. Still, there was suffering. For though all had toiled, though all agreed that the bounties must be shared, it remained a time of hunger. And Brother Tiger could not countenance such indignity. He made little secret of it. He broke the spines of Father Pea and Mother Humm and sucked up the marrow from their bones. Their child he spared and called it mercy.

She fled, more in loneliness than woe, for none dared condemn the killer. He was fed, after all. He was strong. In the burning fields, the hatchling bore trial beyond measure, her wings broken, her feathers torn out. Only the grudge sustained her, until there came a day that the rains returned and the fruit and the flocks, and the Allclan strengthened as never before. It was at this time that the child returned as well, demanding judgment and condemnation of the violation of peace at its most fragile. To ignore the past is to doom the future.

The elders traded glances. Brother Tiger picked his teeth and the fire priest stood. No, he said. They must begin afresh. They must forgive all sins and trespasses. Only by looking ahead in innocence can the Allclan flourish.

And the hatchling hung her head and could not join the cheering. Because forgiveness could not unbreak her wings.
End of narration

A puzzled Legion and Nightcrawler have listened to Lost’s narration, increasingly confused. Is that it? David asks. Kurt carefully reminds Lost that in the Bower she was triggered by Fabian Cortez. Is he the tiger in the story? And she is the hatchling? After some hesitation she just replies that she is Lost.

There’s their second law, Legion sends to Nightcrawler. “Murder no man.” If Cortez did kill her parents… then it was long before Krakoa and its laws, Kurt finishes the thought. Legion points out that the Council makes exceptions, reminding Kurt of Sabretooth who was sent to the Pit for crimes committed before the laws were made.

So much for dad’s mutant paradise being above judges and jail, David sighs. He suggests Kurt use that. He is still looking for a big idea for his not-a-religion? Big show trial, David suggests. Nobody would be unhappy to see Manbun McWeaselface burn. Wouldn’t be the first civilization to gather behind vengeful laws.

Kurt refuses. They have to be better than that. He apologizes to Lost but they made a decision when they joined this society. To wipe the slate clean. To judge only in the context of their new world, not the one they left behind. He also apologizes for bringing her to Mars, but the lower gravity softens the effect of her powers until she can control them.

David awkwardly offers it was a nice story. She could do something with that talent. He’s wrong, Lost replies. It’s not a story. Not yet. Stories must have endings. She walks away.

What does he think? Kurt asks. After making a joke, David tells him she is full of pain. She is so broken, most of the time she can barely string a sentence together. When she started that story, she was like a different person. She won’t heal until she gets closure. If he goes delving into her head, he will make things worse.

Kurt notices the volcano behind them showing signs of eruption. Olympus Mons, comes a voice from behind him. It’s Dust stepping through a Krakoan Gate. She adds, it’s the largest volcano in the solar system. It’s been erupting since the omegas terraformed Mars. Nobody seems to care. Pointedly, she asks Kurt why he is there. Didn’t she hear he got drunk and announced he was going to save them all. Something religious, she expects. It’s not really a religion per se, Kurt mumbles.

David interrupts and asks why she is out here. Clean-up duty, she replies. The volcano wasn’t the only thing the Omegas botched. They forgot the tides.

Looking up, David points out that the Martian moons are tiny. Too small to affect the water. Who said anything about water? Sooraya retorts, as a dust cloud nears them. While handling the dust with her powers, she explains that thanks to the disturbances there are gigatons of dust stirred up by the moons. The storm follows Phobos like a puppy. She asks them to excuse her. She has a cloud to wrestle.

She’s quite something, David admits, then walks toward the gate. He is working another angle on the Onslaught thing. He has an appointment. He thinks perhaps he does too, Kurt replies and also steps through a gate.

He ends up in Manhattan, Central Park and is treated to a bad sight: Gorgon groaning in pain and a crowd watching while nearby Fabian Cortez sips his coffee nonchalantly. He strongly advises Kurt to stay back. Sage said he was looking for him. He supposes either a council summons or a sermon. The answer is #&% no! He thought he better take a step. Preemptive retaliation, if he likes.

Poor Gorgon, Cortez continues, eyes that turn people to stone, mind like a nuke, sword like devil’s breath… then he dies in Otherworld and comes back as what? A halfwit child?

Kurt mumbles that nobody knows why the resurrection process went wrong. Disinterested, Cortez agrees. Poses all kinds of problems for the god-bothering types, he bets. Funny, isn’t it. Souls, God, the afterlife, it’s all sapien thinking. But these people don’t give a damn. They see a freak. Some fear him, some envy him… but it’s all ugly in the end.

All Cortez did was boost Gorgon’s telepathy a little. Can he imagine? Eight million pissy New Yorkers all complaining in his brain. He can’t block it out. Best guess? He panics and tears off that mask. Everybody dies.

Kurt reminds him of the law ‘kill no man.’ Cortez points out he isn’t triggering Gorgon and he will not do the killing. Nobody else is going to stop him, he says pointedly to Kurt.

Krakoa, the Green Lagoon:
The other patrons look curiously at a special meeting between Charles Xavier and his estranged son, David. David asks if Xavier brought what he asked and Xavier hands him a Krakoan gate seed. Can he ask what it is for? David refuses. He adds Xavier is too invested in this place. He can’t feel what’s bubbling under the surface. Empathy was never his thing.

David doesn’t like him very much, does he? Xavier asks his son. David retorts that it’s worse. He loves him. He just doesn’t know why. Xavier takes off his Cerebro helmet. Calling David “son,” he asks how he really is. Cynically, David assumes he wants to know if he is on the verge of going nuts and destroying the universe. No, but cheers for the concern. He points to the Xorn brothers, adding they are helping. Xavier asks if they are teaching David calming meditation. No, they reply, they are ready to vaporize David, should he lose control. At his request. Xavier looks horrified. “I rule me,” David stresses. Whatever the cost.

Xavier changes the subject. Before David came back, he started sensing something. They are poisoning minds. Mapping up all the negative stuff, David agrees. Xavier thought it was David. Is it? Charles demands. For pity’s sake, no! David shouts. Xavier apologizes. It’s infecting them, can he feel it? The listlessness… the paranoia. All around them, the other patrons begin to show exactly those symptoms.

His people… their people… just want sensation. The bloodier the better. He built a paradise… but this thing is slipping in the cracks, exploiting every question…

David agrees, and yet Xavier can’t see it. Tricking him was the first thing it ever learned. Xavier demands to know who it is. He needs to fight it. David tells him it’s not up to Xavier to fight it. In fact, he is literally the worst candidates. It knows everything about him already. It is filling this room with hate and rage, and if Xavier tries anything…. If he even thinks its name? It will snap.

He’s got to go. Thanks for this. David gets up. Xavier pleads that those people are his responsibility. David retorts they are their own responsibility. Can’t he just trust his people? Can he not trust him? There is too much at stake, Xavier decides and demands a name. or he will take it himself— he lashes out, possessed by Onslaught, and all around them the other patrons attack each other.

David asks the Xorn brothers to help him. They psychically attack and only skeletons are let of everyone else, including Xavier. Better tell the resurrection crew to cancel their dinner plans, eh? David sighs. Gonna be a busy night.

In New York, the tortured Gorgon tears off his blindfold over Nightcrawler’s warning cries. Stop him! Kurt shouts at Cortez, who replies smoothly that that is precisely what he is doing. Gorgon’s telepathy is still maxed out, sure, but he is shutting down those eyes. For now. So, let’s talk about his options, shall they? Nightcrawler can knock out or kill Cortez and watch as ever last flatscan gets turn to stone. Or go and kill innocent Gorgon. But who knows what will get resurrected this time… Either way, he’s afraid it’s murder in the biblical sense. Or three: Kurt could stand in front of Gorgon and get petrified. That would probably scare off everyone else. Of course, suicide is blasphemy in that little religion of his, unless he doesn’t really see it as self-destruction at all. He will come back, after all. Go ride the resurrection rodeo. He’s sure Nightcrawler’s god won’t be jealous. What is he trying to prove? Nightcrawler seethes.

In the meantime, more bystanders have gathered to watch Gorgon.

Who says he is trying to prove anything? Cortez grins. Maybe he just likes watching flatscans die or maybe some holy wars need help getting started.

There is always another way, you inexcusable little worm!” Kurt mutters. He teleports away and into the air to fall into an icecream stand that has been build up nearby. As he tries to extricate himself from the icecream, he does several pratfalls, causing the crowd to laugh. And that laughter gets projected to Gorgon, who calms down and reattaches his blindfold.

Kurt teleports back to Cortez, telling him he was right, the joke was on him. Cortez begs him not to take him to the Quiet Council. They will put him in the Hole! He whines about the unfairness. Gorgon has killed more people than him. Kurt tells him to shut up as he drags him through a portal. He is not taking him to the Council. He will face what no villain has ever withstood - a meaningful conversation!

On Mars, Xorn and Zorn watch as David puts a Krakoan seed into his head, intending to build a refuge for mutants or, as he calls it, a temple.

Characters Involved: 

Fabian Cortez

Professor X
Xorn and Zorn
Gorgon II

Bedlam, Bevatron, Blink ,Blob, Dazzler, DJ, Dr Nemesis, Dust Erg, Gorgeous George, Loa, Pixie III, Warpath


Story Notes: 

Text pages:
Excerpt from the Book of [Redacted] regarding Arakko
File notes form Dr Nemesis regarding Cortez

Um Himmels willen: German “For Heaven’s sake!”

Written By: