X-Men (4th series) #10

Issue Date: 
April 2014
Story Title: 
Muertas part 4

Brian Wood (Writer), Terry Dodgson (Pencilers), Rachel Dodgson (Inker), Jason Keithm Woodard and Mossa (Colourist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (Letterer), Terry Dodgson and Rachel Dodgson (Cover), Tom Brennan (Associate Editor), Jeanine Schaefer (Editor), Nick Lowe (X-Men Group Editor), Axel Alonso (Editor in Chief), Joe Quesada (Chief Creative Officer), Dan Buckley (Publisher), Alan Fine (Executive Producer)

Brief Description: 

In Dubai, M is nearly dead and the police are investigating the damaged skyscraper when Gabriel Shepherd shows up and stops everyone in a temporal field. After he heals her, M flies off to join the rest of her team as Shephard molecularly cleanses the whole place of Arkea. M joins Storm and Psylocke on the Blackbird and they all discuss what to do next. Meanwhile, the Sisterhood has escaped into the desert on foot until Arkea remotely commandeers a helicopter. In orbit, Pixie and Rockslide find some debris infected with Arkea and they throw it into the sun. At the school, John Sublime is going through numerous medical tests to find out about his and his sisters genetic structure. He and Rachel get into a discussion about their relationship and she decides it is best if they don’t date. M and Psylocke go on a mission to find the Sisterhood. They find a boat where they are supposed to be but find no one on board. They are confused, as is Karima who thought the intel was correct. Elsewhere, the Sisterhood discuss recruiting two more members and Lady Deathstrike doesn’t like Arkea’s suggestions of Madelyne Pryor and Selene Gallo. However, when she speaks up, Arkea lets her know that she is now in charge and Yuriko is only there for her financial contacts. On Catalina Island, Jubilee and a group of students await the arrival of a bunch of Sentinels which Arkea reactivated. As they approach the shore, the X-Men try attacking but find Arkea’s upgrade to the robots is too powerful. Undeterred, Jubilee orders Pixie and Bling! to take the fight to the Sentinels.

Full Summary: 

As she applies her Day-of-the-Dead makeup, she says that she is Ana Cortes and she says she is Yuriko Oyama. A mobbed-up rich girl from Colombia and a deadly assassin from Osaka. Together they are Lady Deathstrike.

Hidden within the X-Men’s Jean Grey Academy is the secret behind the Arkea virus, a sentient, alien bacterium that could be the key to global domination and the end of the X-Men. Early attempts at acquiring the sample were a failure. A new Sisterhood was born and with Typhoid Mary and Amora the Enchantress’s help another sample was located. Arkea was reanimated in the augmented body of Reiko. The villain John Sublime, Arkea’s brother, had warned her of the power but she had no idea.

They all made pacts to serve Arkea in return for enhanced bio-cybernetics. Typhoid Mary had her personalities merged, Amora had her powers restored and Lady Deathstrike had a host of body modifications. Every day she gets closer and closer to her desired ideal. Their one obstacle is the X-Men and it will be a war. They need recruits and powerhouses. They need to resurrect the dead.


A number of helicopters circle the skyscraper that housed the Sisterhood’s Body Shoppe. They shine spotlights on the top seven floors that M ripped open in her quest to take down the villains. M’s lifeless body lies amongst the debris as police comb the area. One policeman looks at his phone and says they have word from their security services that this is no longer a police matter. The mutant is to be taken to their facility for treatment and debriefing, dead or alive. A police woman looks at M and says she looks dead to her. But when it comes to mutants who really knows?

Gabriel Shepherd suddenly appears and goes to M. He bends down and asks her to wake up. She opens her eyes and asks who he is. He tells her and says that he works with Sabra and that her friends sent him to help her. M says she has heard of him and, as he helps her up, he asks if they are good things. She tells him he would blush if he knew and then asks what he has done there. He says he created a temporal pocket about five hundred meters square. She asks if he stopped time and he replies it is more like a stasis condition. The entire area is an infection zone and he has to move quickly. He tells her he has scanned her and she is clear.

He asks if she can fly and she says Amora took her down hard. Apparently she is not used to going toe-to-toe with magic users. She says she’s good though and asks where the others are. He tells her the X-jet is holding position just outside UAE airspace. As M takes to the air and asks what he is going to do, he tells her he will clean the site. With that, he holds his hands out and they start to glow. He would like to see Arkea survive a sustained electromagnetic shockwave. He will follow it with a complete molecular disassembly. Maybe he will convert her atoms to some fresh mountain air.

M thanks him and flies off. As she leaves she makes a note to herself to stop dying and coming back as it’s getting embarrassing. She looks back to the skyscraper and is glows with an electric blue as Gabriel cleanses it.

On board the Blackbird, Storm is piloting the jet as Psylocke and M look at a holographic display of the Earth. Storm says that the display is courtesy of the Cerebro spikes that Psylocke stole from the freak show Xavier descendent. What they are seeing are Arkea activations. M looks at it and says the Dubai one just winked out. She asks if Gabriel is that powerful. Storm says he is something of a mystery and no-one knows his upper limits. He will help out when he can but he and Sabra are stretched thin. Plus this is the X-Men’s mess to clean up.

M says that fighting world-ending sentient bacteria and Norse goddesses isn’t what she had in mind on her time off. Storm starts to say something but M cuts her off. She tells her she is in as this is a pure class-1, save-the-world act of super heroics. She could use the good karma.


As the Sisterhood walk through a scorching desert, Ana Cortes says that this wasn’t the plan. This is too dangerous and it was supposed to be fun. Amora enquires after Yuriko but she says that it was Ana Cortes talking. Yuriko tells Ana that she knew the process was a journey they would take together and it wouldn’t be like flipping a switch. But with Arkea they will get there faster as she is a valuable asset. Amora says that only a fool would say that when it’s obvious they are all in thrall to her. Arkea tells Yuriko to listen to her sorcerer and to silence the other voice in her head. She needs perfect coordination and obedience. Yuriko tells her to get them out of the desert and she will have it.

Just then, a helicopter appears in the distance. Yuriko starts to ask how she did it but Arkea interrupts her. She says that five miles back they passed a terrain waypoint marker that belonged to a petroleum corporation. They followed its low frequency signal to a small airfield and activated the transport remotely. The crewless helicopter lands and Arkea tells them to get on. As the helicopter takes off, Arkea says they have wasted valuable time and taken out on of the X-Men. In her experience, that will not go unanswered.


Pixie and Rockslide float in the vastness of space around the Earth. Pixie wears a space suit whilst Rockslide wears nothing but his trousers. Pixie thanks him for doing it with her and he says he is happy to help. He then asks where the thing is and Pixie looks at her computer in her sleeve and says it should be easy to track. Kitty riffed the whole school last year, she even bar-coded the bathroom supplies. She then sarcastically says like anyone would want to steal her tampons. They find the thing they are looking for and Rockslide tells Pixie to stand back. He gets out a gun and she asks what it is. As he squirts a yellow liquid out of it, he says that it is amber and it will lock in the contagion. Pixie asks what he will do then and he replies he will throw it into the sun.

In his lab at the school, Beast is checking over John Sublime as Rachel looks on. Rachel asks if that’s all it takes and Beast replies no. He says that John is unable to articulate how his bacterial makeup is different from his sister’s. John adds that they split a long time ago. Beast continues and says a range of tests will have to be done. With her arms crossed, Rachel tells John that he could be more cooperative. Getting a little annoyed, John asks if he could. He tells Rachel he has complied with them in every way he could. He is perfectly willing to help them kill his sister, even though she is the only family he will ever have. Rachel tells him her people keep getting hurt and then wonders what she ever saw in him. Beast walks away and mutters that he will be going now.

John asks what she did see in him. He asks if it was a mass murderer, a monster or a reformed man? He says they had that moment on the X-jet and then asks if she wanted more. She goes to use her telepathy but he grabs her arms and asks her not to. He wants to hear her say it. Rachel looks away and tells him it’s too complex. She can make a decision to be with him but her friends will always hate him. They will always see him as a villain and, to be honest, so will she. They are a very bad idea.

He tells her he understands. He is an immortal consciousness who has lived a million lifetimes of both happiness and regret. He is continuously afforded the luxury of starting over. He forgets others are not like him. He picks up his jacket and walks towards the door. He tells her he will await further instructions in the holding cell. Rachel calls after him and then uses her telepathy. John replies that he is sorry too.

On the plane, M asks Psylocke if she is ready to go. Standing in the open plane door, Psylocke replies she is. M tells Storm not to risk the X-jet and to keep her distance. In the pilot’s seat, Storm tells her she is there as back-up if they need it. As they leap out of the plane and dive bomb towards the ground, Psylocke tells M they have to do this analogue and that means no radars, drones or sensors of any kind. M tells her it sounds like she has done this before and Psylocke replies a few times but never this high or fast though. M says she will keep up and asks who the superhuman around there is anyway. Psylocke points out they are jumping into immediate action and asks M is she is fully recovered. M tells Psylocke she is a super something alright. She then counts down until they have contact.

They make a flawless dive into the ocean next to a luxury yacht. As they swim under the surface, M simply holds her breath whilst Psylocke creates a telepathic bubble of air around her. They swim to the back of the boat and board it. M says she isn’t picking anything up like heartbeats. Psylocke adds that there are no consciousnesses on the boat and comments that their intel was solid. They telepathically ask Storm to confirm it is Cortes’s yacht and the intel placed Lady Deathstrike there. Storm tells Karima that the boat is deserted and she replies that it doesn’t make sense. She says the data trail is clear. Not suspiciously clear but appropriately difficult enough to track. They should be on board. On the boat, M asks where they are.

Elsewhere, the Sisterhood is gathered together in a darkened room. Arkea holds a tablet and tells the rest of the group it contains the help they mentioned. Straight from the database Typhoid Mary hacked are two women who are perfect counterpoints for the X-men. Lady Deathstrike looks at the tablet and after a few stunned second asks Arkea if she is serious. The Enchantress asks Yuriko to tell her now who is the master and who is the thrall.

Deathstrike says that when she brought the Sisterhood together this is not what she had in mind. It is overkill. They have to be careful who they bring in. Arkea gets right up close to Deathstrike’s face and tells her she is an inferior specimen and inadequate to the task. She can tag along as allowed and she may continue to contribute Cortes’s assets. In short, she will obey and perform and she will locate the two women on the list. Madelyne Pryor and Selene Gallo, the Black Queen.

(Catalina Island)

Hellion decides to recap what he knows. The Arkea meteorite broke up in orbit and sent hunks of infectious material across the planet. And some old Sentinels sunk years ago are under her control and headed for the mainland. Jubilee tells him it’s a perfect recap. They are on a beach along with Pixie and Bling!. Hellion is in his swimwear whilst the rest are in their combat uniforms.

Hellion says that when he thought they were going to the beach he actually thought they meant the beach. Pixie says she knows he did. And his shorts are the reason no one told him earlier. Bling! sarcastically applauds Hellion on his shorts. Dressed in a hoodie and covered up as much as possible, Jubilee tells Hellion she will be sure to tell Storm he was going undercover. She radios to Karima for an update on the Sentinels. She replies that they are a mile out but moving fast. They should see something soon.

Pixie asks to go out there as she always wanted to go toe-to-toe with an old Mark 1. Karima tells her not to, as they are the eyes in the sky and she is the protection on the beach. On the jet, Quentin Quire tells Karima that he can sense Arkea and she is piloting the Sentinels. She is pissed and she will be doubly once she realizes Karima is there. Karima says to tell her as she is looking forward to killing her again. Oya, piloting the plane, mocks her and says how hardcore. Quentin leans down to Karima and tells her he likes her, as she isn’t afraid to push the envelope. Through the radio Bling! teases him and tells him to stop quoting his own Wikipedia page.

Jubilee suddenly spots the Sentinels and tells Hellion to let them know they are there and to keep their distance. As the Sentinels breach the surface of the water, Hellion unleashes a telekinetic attack against them. The old, degraded Sentinels don’t seem to notice his attack. Instead they continue forward and one of them says they are Arkea and they cannot stop them.

Quentin looks out the window and tells everyone that Arkea is repairing the Sentinels on the fly and it will take more than that to knock them down. Jubilee says they are going to have to take them apart and Quentin agrees and adds up close and personal. Jubilee radios for Karima to send Mercury down to the beach, as they will need her. Bling! is a little taken aback when she hears the order. Jubilee then asks Quentin to take Arkea’s consciousness apart. Do the stuff he dreams about in the dark corner of his brain that scares the crap out of the rest of them. Quentin says he is doing his best, as Pixie notices the Sentinels are gearing up for an attack.

Still in the water, one of the Sentinels points its arm at the beach and unleashes a huge energy blast. Luckily everyone survives and Jubilee announces the mission just changed. She tells Bling! and Pixie they are up and with that the two girls teleport away. They reappear next to one of the Sentinels, ready for a fight.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Jubilee, M, Omega Sentinel, Psylocke, Rachel Grey, Storm (all X-Men)

Bling!, Hellion, Mercury, Oya, Pixie, Quentin Quire, Rockslide (all student)

Gabriel Shepherd

John Sublime

Ana Cortes/Lady Deathstrike, Arkea/Reiko, the Enchantress, Typhoid Mary (all Sisterhood)

Police Officers

Beach goers

Story Notes: 

M died in X-Factor (3rd series) #255 and resurrected in #256 by Strong Guy when he became Lord of Hell.

The Xavier descendent that Storm is referring to was his future grandson that was featured in the Battle of the Atom crossover.

If Rockslide sounds a little strange in this issue that’s because he was originally supposed to be Colossus but was switched at the last minute.

Madelyne Pryor is the clone of Jean Grey and ex-wife of Cyclops. She was the original leader of the first Sisterhood and was last seen trying to use Jean Grey’s corpse as a vessel to be reborn again. Her plan failed and she apparently faded away again.

Selene Gallio was an ancient mutant with vampiric-like powers. She tried to absorb the life forces of all the world’s mutants in a bid to become a goddess. She was killed by X-Force before she could gain immortality [Necrosha crossover]

A number of the speech bubbles don’t match up with who is supposed to be speaking. When the Sisterhood are walking through the desert a speech bubble comes from Reiko/Arkea but Lady Deathstrike says that it is Ana Cortes talking. On the next page, a number of speech bubbles come from a helicopter, even though there is no one on it. Later on, when the students are on the beach, Bling! makes a comment that doesn’t fit in with the flow of the conversation. It would fit better after Pixie has spoken her dialogue.

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