X-Force (6th series) #1

Issue Date: 
January 2019
Story Title: 
Hunting Ground

Benjamin Percy (writer), Joshua Cassara (artist), Dean White (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Dustin Weaver (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: 

Domino infiltrates an anti-mutant gathering but is found out and captured. On Krakoa, the mutants are unaware of her predicament. Xavier visits Sokovia, where he is feted, and the Marauders bring a group of traumatized Russian mutants to Krakoa, including Colossus. The Warden Black Tom discusses the situation with Xavier. He dislikes people entering the island outside of the portals. In the meantime, several enhanced soldiers have taken and kidnapped a flight from Seoul to Honolulu and the soldiers parachute off over Krakoa – but the security systems read them as Domino and don’t act. Once the soldiers land they begin a massacre. And before the X-Men can respond, they have also killed Professor X…

Full Summary: 

A gathering of masked men and women sitting around a round table. The leader, with the peacock mask, lifts a scalpel as he announces there is us and there is them. To make certain no one here is one of them, they will begin with a purity test. He cuts his finger. All it takes is a small sample of blood. Before the meeting commences, each of them must test clean. His colleague will collect the samples. And if any of them should test X-gene positive, he will scrub away the stain of them. He wishes the psionic shield around the chamber were enough to assure their privacy, he continues, as the others give blood, but they are here to discuss the declaration of mutant sovereignty and the reality of the new geopolitical situation.

One woman has not yet given a sample. The muscular guard stands next to her. Slowly, she takes off her glove, revealing unnaturally pale skin. She grabs the scalpel as he puts his hand on her shoulder. She muses that it took a lot of luck to get in here. But it’s going to take a lot more to get out. She embeds the scalpel in his hand and begins attacking the others to make her way outside. However, the guard catches her and slams her to the ground.

As he was saying, the leader repeats as the guard tears off the woman’s mask to reveal Domino. To make sure none of them are of them, they require blood.

Beast wanders through a jungle-like landscape, exploring the flora when he is attacked by what seems to be a monstrous hog-like creature. Fortunately, Wolverine observes them and jumps down from a tree, claws unsheathed. The creature is frightened off and flees. Beast asks Wolverine not to give chase. Logan scoffs in disbelief. Beast explains he wants to know what it is. It can’t possibly be a product of the island, because then it wouldn’t have tried to harm him. Maybe it mistook him for a threat. Wolverine helps him up and states he’s been following it for days and it left quite a few bones behind.

Beast muses that Krakoa is supposed to be a refuge. More like a salad bar, Logan replies. Every flower-filled meadow’s got a hawk or wolf or snake waiting for a taste. There’s always a predator. He points out that Beast didn’t see this thing coming because he felt sheltered. Krakoa makes everyone feel safe. And when you’re safe, you’re careless.

Elsewhere on the island, Black Tom Cassidy senses something that doesn’t belong. A moment later, Professor Xavier telepathically informs him there is a psychic disturbance on the northwest shore. Tom joins Xavier and several other mutants there. The mutants are agitated because something is coming on the sea and everyone is supposed to be using the Krakoan Gates. Tom corrects them: The rules don’t apply to Kitty Pryde and her Marauders.

Jean Grey telepathically urges Tom to hurry. The boat is full of pain! Kate Pryde tells Jean there were no gates and they got the people out on the broken boat they stole. The refugees are in even worse shape. They are victims of chemical weapons. Jean thanks her, to which Kate replies she should thank someone else… the one Xavier sent to Russia where he organized everything and tried to arrange the extraction. He’s the man she doesn’t want to see hurt anymore. She refers to her former fiancé Colossus, who is wounded, his leg mangled, even in his armored form.

Seoul International Airport:
Several shady individuals separately board a flight to Honolulu. One of them is greeted in a familiar way by a member of the aircrew.

Soon the pilot informs the passengers about turbulences over the Pacific, meaning they have to divert the route.

On Krakoa, Professor X telepathically addresses Sage, reminding her it has been over a week since Cerebro lost contact with Domino. He asks her to doublecheck the system if anything turned up. Nothing though.

Xavier steps though a Krakoan portal and exits in Sokovia, where he is welcomed profusely by the country’s leader and a clapping crowd. As he is feted, Xavier expresses pleasure that the head of state has come around to signing the Krakoan treaty.

In the Healing Gardens, the Morlock Healer enlists Jean Grey’s help to communicate with the Russian mutants, to ask where it hurts. Probing Colossus’ mind, Jean describes the horrors he witnessed and concludes she cannot tell the Healer where it hurts, because it hurts everywhere.

The plane suddenly loses pressure. Several passengers reach for the breathing masks, only to nevertheless fall asleep, whereas a few select passengers watch them calmly and unharmed. The pilot seems to be in on it, while the copilot has been taken out as well.

The pilot addresses the awake people, who change into black fatigues, all of them having white stripes of skin. The pilot redirects course until getting to a certain point where the four awake passengers jump off, downward toward Krakoa.

On the island, Black Tom sees something coming from the sky. He alerts Sage, who tells him according to monitor activity it looks like Domino. Tom isn’t buying it. Why hasn’t she communicated? And where is she parachuting from? The moon? Sage retorts Domino could arrive by zeppelin, paper plane or catapult and she wouldn’t be surprised. Tom still doesn’t like it.

That moment, Xavier returns through one of the gates and asks what Tom doesn’t like. All the coming and going without him knowing the who and where and why. That’s what he’s come to talk about. He talks the dirt and the dirt talks back and sometimes they get a feeling like all the worms are twisting inside them. Like now.

In the sky, the group’s leader orders them to deploy the chutes and take assault formation.

On the ground, Tom continues. It’s one thing having people coming through the gates, but can they trust everyone washing up with the tide? Xavier replies that identification is Sage’s business.

The leader reminds them to stay on target.

Tom insists he wants better communication. Xavier asks if he knows that some on the Council were against Tom serving as warden. Xavier continues that he told them Tom can be trusted and assures him they can be trusted. All mutants can be trusted. They are in this together. Krakoa is not a prison.

At a campfire, Wolverine sniffs something, then sees the mercs landing.

In front of Tom and Xavier, a woman is suddenly shot. Tom orders Xavier to run.

All hell breaks loose as the solders open fire on the mutants. Tom lets the island itself fight through its link with him. Xavier runs realizing their foes have psionic blocks.

Elsewhere, Wolverine looks for one of the mercs, who shoots him several times, only to be attacked himself by Beast. He reminds Wolverine that there are indeed always predators. Marvel Girl joins them and tells them they were stupid and slow and careless. This can never happen again.

Tom attacks two mercs with the earth itself. One of them wonders how they could not see this coming. Did they really think humans would not fight back?

Jean, Beast and Wolverine race toward Xavier, who tries to calm down the merc aiming his weapon at him. Before they are close enough, he shoots Xavier down. Wolverine throws himself at the killer, while Beast tries to restrain him, telling him they need one alive to question.

From her computer, Sage calls them begging them to tell her she is wrong. Tell her it’s not true! At the X-Men’s feet, Xavier lies dead.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Back Tom, Colossus, Domino,Healer, Marvel Girl, Professor X, Sage, Wolverine
Iceman, Kate Pryde, Pyro, Storm (Marauders)

Members of Xeno (unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Text pages

One page describes the security features of KrakoaA memo by Professor X regarding the response to non-treaty nations:Official response: treat them as potential future alliesUnofficial response: secure back alleys via the Black King to smuggle in Krakoan medicine, work to undermine the administration, primary focus being on helping mutants out of the country, e.g like Colossus in Russia

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