X-Men (4th series) #1

Issue Date: 
July 2013
Story Title: 
The Primer (Part 1)

Brian Wood (Writer), Olivier Coipel (Penciler), Mark Morales and Olivier Coipel (Inkers), Laura Martin (Colourist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (Letterer), Olivier Coipel and Laura Martin (Cover), Jennifer M. Smith (Assistant Editor), Jeanine Schaefer (Editor), Nick Lowe (X-Men Group Editor), Axel Alonso (Editor in Chief), Joe Qeusada (Chief Creative Officer), Dan Buckley (Publisher), Alan Fine (Executive Producer)

Brief Description: 

John Sublime witnesses a meteor crash to Earth and becomes very worried. A few weeks later, Rachel Grey and Storm are dealing with a fight between Bling! and Mercury at the school when they receive a troubled call from Jubilee. Jubilee has been followed by Sublime through most of Europe and on the plane ride over to America. She calls the X-Men to tell them she is being followed and she is on her way to them via train. Worried that she will make it, Storm, Kitty and Rogue fly to the train, where they are surprised to see her with a baby. As the catch up on Jubilee’s situation, none of the women notice when the baby emits an electrical signal which enters the circuits of the train. The train suddenly speeds up and switches tracks, putting it on a collision course with another one. As Rogue goes outside, Kitty goes to check on the drivers, only to find they are dead and there is another train coming right for them. Meanwhile, Storm has managed to clear the first three carriages and so Rogue derails them to slow down the remaining ones. Back at the school, Sublime lands on the front lawn in a helicopter and promptly surrenders when approached by Rachel and Psylocke. Under interrogation, he explains that his twin sister, Arkea, is back on Earth. When they were born billions of years ago, he forced her away. She spent a long time in the cosmos but is now back to seek revenge on him and to dominate the world like she was supposed to. He tells them that they are the most formidable opponents he’s met and he’s hoping they will help him out. He also tells them that Jubilee is also involved and on her way to the X-Men. When Rachel replies that Jubilee is already back at the school, Sublime becomes terrified and yells for them to lock her and the baby up. Elsewhere, Jubilee settles into her room and lets the baby play with a mobile phone Kitty gave her. She doesn’t notice when the phone calls the Beast’s lab, or that an electrical signal is sent across numerous devices until it reaches the stasis chamber of Karima Shapandar. A moment later, the chamber opens and Karima steps out, possessed by Arkea.

Full Summary: 

Before there was anything else, there were two bacterium siblings. Perfect twins, in thrall to their biological imperatives: replication, dominance and survival. One was forced out, to evolve on her own and find her own place in the infant cosmos. The other, the victor, would come to inherit the primordial Earth. As life came and went, lesser species gave rise to superior lines. Some thousands of billions of life cycles and she was forgotten. Even to the most ancient of life forms, a billion years is not insignificant. But against almost impossible odds both siblings thrived: the female, and the male who cast her out. She never forgot. Encoded into her DNA was a fourth imperative… revenge.

A meteor enters Earth’s atmosphere and burns as it crashes towards the ground. Smaller rock fragments break up and hit the ocean as the main body gets closer. A car hastily speeds along a road. It stops on the side of a mountain overlooking a city and John Sublime gets out. He watches as the meteor slams into the center of the city, causing a huge explosion. A worried look crosses his face.

(Sofia International Airport, Bulgaria. Three weeks later)

Jubilation Lee, an orphan barely out of childhood herself, made homeless in California is rescued by the X-Men. Her life that once seemed so tragic and limited was opened up to limitless possibilities and she was part of a family again.

Jubilee, carrying a baby, walks through the airport. She looks over her shoulder for a second and then heads to the check-in desk. As she checks-in, Sublime is also checking in a little way away. The man behind the desk calls him Mr. Caselli and tells him it’s an honor. The man says he typically travels out of the private hanger and asks if anything is wrong. Sublime says that it’s very last minute and he would rather fly commercial than wait for a Bizjet. He must be on the next plane to JFK. The man complies and tells him to enjoy his flight. All the while, Sublime watches Jubilee checking-in and then heading to her gate.

Mutants are synonymous with fear and hatred, prejudice and bigotry, violence and decimation, war and schism, alienation, shame and seclusion. But Jubilee has one word to describe the X-Men. Home.

As the plane travels to America, a forlorn Jubilee cradles the baby. Not too many seats away, Sublime calmly sits with a drink in his hand. As the baby starts crying, Jubilee holds him close and a tear rolls down her face.

(Jean Grey School for Higher Learning)

As numerous kids walk through the corridor, someone shouts Bling!’s name. She turns to see who it is and Mercury punches her in the face. Bling! falls to the floor and someone yells at Mercury, asking her what that was for. Mercury simply says Bling! knows. Rachel Grey yells both girls’ names and tells them to stay put. She orders the rest of the kids to class and asks the two girls what’s going on. Mercury glares at a guilty looking Bling! and says nothing is going on. Storm tells Mercury she can go but they will talk later. Rachel starts to tell Storm that Mercury was the one who caused the trouble, but Storm says she knows but she wants to talk to Bling! first. Storm asks Bling! what happened but the young girl turns away and says she doesn’t want to talk about it. Rogue and Shadowcat walk up to the two women and tell them that they have trouble.

(Grand Central Station, New York)

Jubilee is on a payphone, talking to one of the X-Men. They ask what she means when she says she is being followed. Jubilee tells them she doesn’t have time to explain and that she’s coming in. They tell her to stay in public where it is safe and they will come and get her, but Jubilee replies she has no idea who the guy is or what he is capable of. She’ll be on the next train, as the sooner she is with the X-Men the safer they’ll be. The X-Men question what she means by “they” but she hangs up. She walks off and Sublime goes to the payphone she was using. He hits redial and hears someone welcoming him to the Jean Grey School.

(Metro North Railway, Harlem Line)

Storm and Rogue fly through the air. Rogue is carrying Kitty and they are catching up with the train. Storm asks Kitty if she is sure she wants to do this. Boarding a moving train full of civilians is no small thing. Kitty says they all heard Jubilee on the phone. Something is wrong and she would rather get to her sooner rather than later. Storm tells her to do it quick and fast. Get down there and do a recon. Rogue flies off with Kitty and tells her that, thanks to Northstar, she can match the speed of the train. Rogue lowers her down and Kitty tells her to be careful. Rogue tells her to relax. It’s so rare she gets to fly on missions she wants some fun with it. She tells Kitty she has to let go of her hand though. Kitty dangles above the train and then drops, calling Rogue a show-off as she phases through the train roof.

As she lands at the back of the carriage, she tells the other X-Men that she will move towards the back half of the train whilst they cover the front half. The other radio through and tell Kitty they are in and they have found nothing so far. As Kitty walks down one of the carriages, Jubilee spots her and calls her name. She asks what Kitty is doing there but Kitty is more surprised by the fact Jubilee has a baby with her.

At the school, a helicopter hovers over the front lawn. People gather round it and Rachel yells up that it’s private property and a school for children. She shouts that she doesn’t know who they are but she insists they get the… Psylocke suddenly telepathically interrupts her. She tells Rachel that she is on overwatch and asks if she recognizes the man now getting out of the helicopter. It’s John Sublime.

Psylocke says she recommends Rachel and the kids fall back immediately and they can get a couple more omega-level telepaths and wipe him out before he gets any closer. Rachel tells her to wait, as Sublime kneels on the floor with his hands on the back of his head. He asks if this is the school of the X-Men and then says he surrenders utterly and completely. He asks if they can talk, as time is of the essence. Psylocke stands on the school roof with a telekinetic bow and arrow aimed at Sublime. Rachel telepathically tells her to prep a room in the school away from the kids. She wants it so secure it’s like an airtight box.

On the train, Jubilee says she is being followed. Rogue asks if she means on the train and Jubilee says she thinks so but she doesn’t know. She was definitely being followed when she left Europe and again at the airport. She was pretty sure he was on the plane too. She tells them it’s really scaring her and wonders who the guy is and if he knows her. Storm asks if he is connected to the infant and if the baby belongs to someone. Jubilee says he is her… sorta. She didn’t kidnap him; he’s an orphan and she rescued him. There was a terrorist bombing, which some people said was a meteorite. She’s not sure and it’s a long story. She wanted to bring him to the X-Men like they all did with her. She just wants to be home and she wants him to have a hot meal and a real bed to sleep in. She thinks he was living in some orphanage. She wants Dr. Reyes to check him out to see if he’s okay.

The baby suddenly starts crying loudly, causing everyone to turn around and look at it. Jubilee tries to comfort him and says that he hardly ever cries. As everyone fusses over him, Jubilee picks him up and says he just wants him mommy. He reaches out to the speaker, which is attached to the carriage wall. She tells him not to touch it as it’s dirty. As his finger tips get close to it, an electric spark leaps from him into the speaker. Someone comments on how weird it sounds that Jubilee is a mommy. She replies that it’s been a few weeks now and she’s not as under slept and grossed out by poop as she was.

As they continue to marvel at him, they don’t realize that the electrical spark has made its way up the circuits of the train to the front of it. There are some loud bangs and the train suddenly lurches, causing everything to smash around in the carriages. Jubilee yells that it must be the man who was following her and so Storm orders Kitty to check out the front of the train. Unbeknownst to them, the tracks ahead suddenly alter, sending the train on a different course. Storm asks if Rogue can slow them down but she points out the tracks changed and they are now going north on the southbound.

As the train speeds along, Storm says they have to get everyone off the train, but Jubilee says they will never do it in time. Storm goes to open one of the doors but, when she puts her hand on the handle, it suddenly locks. The other one locks on the other side of the train, arousing her suspicions. Jubilee says they are trapped but Rogue calmly says it’s the metro north, not a tank; they made these things in the 70’s. She kicks the door off its hinges and flies outside. She lands on the top of the train and tells Storm to move everyone to the back of the train. And to keep Jubilee safe.

At the front of the train, Kitty peers into the driver’s carriage to see both of them dead by some electrical malfunction. She radios through what she has seen and then peers out of the window. She asks Rogue if she is seeing what she sees and Rogue tells her she is… an oncoming train. Rogue radios to Storm and asks her if she has the first three carriages clear. Storm says she has and Rogue tells Kitty to get clear. With that, Rogue flies down to the open door and holds on to the handles either side of it. She then drops one foot to the ground to act as a brake. As she does so, she leans backwards, causing the first carriage to tilt with her. The first three carriages start to buckle until the links break between the third and fourth one. As Kitty jumps out, the first three carriages derail and crash down the embankment in an explosion. Kitty commends Rogue on her save and adds that she wants to be there when Wolverine cuts a check to the MTA to pay for it.

In the interview room, Sublime looks at Psylocke, perched on the side of the table, and says she must be the muscle. Rachel, sitting across the table from Sublime, says she is the gun pointed at his head. If he so much as twitches, she will short-circuit his brain. He reminds them that he did surrender. They know he is unarmed and has no hint of malice in his thoughts. He needs their help and his surrender is proof of his good faith. Three weeks ago, his sister returned to Earth, piggybacking on a series of small meteor. She’s an incredibly powerful strain of bacteria that is different from him. And now she’s back.

Elsewhere, Kitty shows Jubilee and the baby to a room at the school. Kitty hands her a mobile phone and says to call if she needs anything and they are all in the contacts, even Hank. She knows he will want to see the baby once he emerges from his lab.

Sublime explains that his sister is here to fulfill her biological imperative. Unless she is stopped, she will come to infect and dominate the world. She is Arkea and she will be relentless. Sublime says he is inadequate to the task of stopping her. And the X-Men were the most formidable adversaries he has ever encountered.

In their room, Jubilee puts the baby on the bed. She holds out the phone and the baby grabs it. A small electric zap occurs and the phone starts calling Beast in his lab.

Sublime says he will repeat himself. It is literally a life and death situation for everyone. Psylocke says he isn’t lying. It’s amazingly absurd but he is telling the truth. Sublime says that they have one more incentive to help them. Psylocke asks what it is and he says that one of their kind is en-route to them. Rachel asks how he knows that and Psylocke replies that she can see Jubilee in his thoughts and that he has been following her. Rachel adds that Storm just texted her and Jubilee is already here. Sublime asks if she is in custody and if they have secured the infant. Rachel asks what he means by “custody” and “the infant.” Sublime shouts at them for secure the infant or it will kill them all.

Beast’s mobile rings in his lab. He doesn’t answer it though. Instead, it is plugged into his laptop, which spontaneously starts operating itself. With his back to it, he doesn’t realize it has sent a signal to the stasis chamber of Karima Shapandar, the Omega Sentinel. The stasis chamber opens and a green mist swirls out. Beast asks who’s there as Karima walks forward. She says she is Arkea Prime, she has returned and that this body will do.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Psylocke, Rachel Grey, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm (all X-Men)



Bling!, Mercury, Pixie (all students)

Numerous other students

John Sublime

Karima Shapandar (possessed by Arkea)

Passengers on train

Passengers on plane

Airport check-in clerk

Story Notes: 

This title was launched under the Marvel NOW! initiative and this issue was the top selling comic of the month.

This is the fourth series named “X-Men.” X-Men (1st series) began in 1963 and was later renamed to Uncanny X-Men and ran for 544 issues. X-Men (2nd series) began in 1991, changed to New X-Men and then X-Men Legacy and ran for 275 issues. X-Men (3rd series) began in 2010 and ran for 42 issues.

John Sublime first appeared in New X-Men (1st series) Annual #1. He is a sentient bacterium that is able to take possession of a human being. Up till now, he has been a major threat to the X-Men and mutants in general.

Jubilee first joined the X-Men when she saw Storm, Rogue, Dazzler and Psylocke teleport into a mall. Jubilee was homeless and living there at the time, as her parents had died. She followed them back to the Australian Outback when they went back through their teleportation portal. After concealing herself for a while, she eventually revealed herself and joined the X-Men.

Jubilee was turned into a vampire in X-Men (3rd series) #1. During that comic’s run, she battled with her vampiric urges until she met a group of vampires, called the Forsaken. She decided to stay with them so that she could learn to control her urges without being a threat to the people she loved. She has not possessed her mutant powers since M-Day.

Rogue is now in control of her absorption powers, which are her only permanent power. She stated she took Northstar’s speed and flight for the mission. But she also uses super strength and durability to stop the train. Whilst it’s not stated, she presumably took them off someone like Warpath, as she doesn’t show any physical mutations like she would with Colossus or Rockslide.

Karima Shapandar, aka the Omega Sentinel, was put in a coma by Hellion in X-Men Legacy #243. After Bastion had attacked the X-Men, a virus was used to disable his squad of sentinels. Karima had a latent reaction, as she was made up of sentinel technology. She lost control of her body and Hellion blasted her with his telekinesis to stop her from hurting people. Beast stated that, although her body was repaired, her mind was most likely gone.

Storm and Psylocke are both wearing similarly designed costumes because they are also featuring in Uncanny X-Force (2nd series). Rogue adopted her current look when she joined the Uncanny Avengers. Shadowcat and Rachel can also be seen in Wolverine and the X-Men.

When first solicited, this title caused a bit of controversy as being a gimmick when the line-up was revealed to be an all female one. Whilst all female line-ups are rare, there are some notable exceptions such as the Fearless Defenders and DC’s Birds of Prey.

The exact nature of Arkea is explored in future issues. Whilst the word Arkea doesn’t have an English definition, the word Archaea does. Both are pronounced the same and Archaea is a kingdom of single-celled micro-organisms. They were classified as a bacterium for many years but it has been discovered that they have a different evolutionary history to bacteria.

The “Dr. Reyes” to whom Jubilee refers is Cecilia Reyes, a former (and semi) X-Man who assists the team when they need medical help.

Shogo, Jubilee’s infant, is named in the next issue.

Issue Information: 

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