X-Men (4th series) #12

Issue Date: 
May 2014
Story Title: 
Ghosts (Part 3), Muertas (Part 6)

Part 1 - Brian Wood (Writer), Kris Anka (artist), Jason Keith (Colourist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (Letterer), Terry Dodgson and Rachel Dodgson (Cover), Frankie Johnson (Assistant Editor), Tom Brennan and Jeanine Schaefer (Editor), Mike Marts (X-Men Group Editor), Axel Alonso (Editor in Chief), Joe Quesada (Chief Creative Officer), Dan Buckley (Publisher), Alan Fine (Executive Producer)

Part 2 - Brian Wood (Writer), Clay Mann (artist), Seth Mann (Inks), Paul Mounts (Colors), VC’s Joe Caramagna (Letterer), Frankie Johnson (Assistant Editor), Tom Brennan and Jeanine Schaefer (Editor)

Brief Description: 

After Ana Cortes killed herself, the consciousness of Lady Deathstrike was placed within Reiko’s body, along with Arkea. Ana’s body was then used as a vessel to allow the Enchantress to cast a spell and place inside it the mind of Madelyne Pryor, after which the body was to look like her original form. The X-Men fly to Japan where the Sisterhood is residing and have Sabra cut the building off from the electrical grid, trapping Arkea. As they then jump out of the jet, M cannonballs through the building and takes out the Enchantress, while Psylocke goes after and knocks out Typhoid Mary. Arkea, Selene and Madelyne start to retreat but Storm and Rachel catch up with them. Storm uses her lightning but Arkea takes it over. Madelyne cripples Rachel’s mind so Storm has to come up with another plan. Now that Madelyne and Selene are back, they have gotten what they wanted. Storm gives them the choice of leaving and they won’t get hurt in the battle to kill Arkea. The two villainesses take the deal and walk away from the fight, vowing to return with a new Sisterhood. Arkea is angry and goes to attack Storm but M gets her in a choke hold. Storm informs her that they know she is the queen of a hive mind and once she is gone then her threat is over for good. Karima enters and tells her that John Sublime helped create a biological weapon to use against her. It will kill Arkea but leave the host intact. Arkea struggles and tries to bargain with her, but Karima shoots her. Arkea is killed but Reiko’s body is still alive, even though it still contains the consciousness of Lady Deathstrike. Karima then tells the rest of her team that she is leaving to take a job position with Sabra and Gabriel. Gabriel then arrives and the two leave together.

Meanwhile, on Catalina Island, the young team of X-Men fights the Arkea-controlled Sentinels. Jubilee reappears after turning to mist and Quentin manages to fight against Arkea’s control. He possesses one of the Sentinels and uses it to destroy the other two and then itself. Afterwards Bling! and Mercury sort out their issues with each other and they all start the long clean-up process.

Full Summary: 

The Sisterhood, who are on the run from the X-Men, had a curveball thrown at them when Ana Cortes terminated her own life. Since she was a host for Lady Deathstrike’s consciousness, this required a reshuffling of the roster and host bodies. The team is well selected and they have a variety of options. The muscle of Typhoid Mary, the sorcery of Amora the Enchantress, the raw materials of the civilian Ana Cortes and the impossibly advanced Arkea. Plus there is Lady Deathstrike, Selene the Black Queen and one more addition to come.

After Ana has killed herself, the other members of the Sisterhood gather around her body as Arkea, in Reiko’s body, tries to keep it preserved. Arkea tells Amora her sorcery is required as she has the resurrection of Madelyne Pryor to perform. As Ana’s body lies on a table, Amora conducts her spell and Ana wakes up in a stunned daze. Arkea greets her, as she is no longer Ana Cortes but rather Madelyne Pryor.

Later on, Ana’s body has been modified to resemble Madelyne’s former body. Having gotten dressed, she talks to Arkea in her room. She approves of her new body and thanks Arkea, but she makes a point of asking whom she should thank as Lady Deathstrike, Arkea and Reiko all inhabit the same body now. Arkea replies that they are all one for now and, after they are finished and the X-Men are gone, then the whole world will lie down for them.

As the X-Men’s jet speeds towards its destination, Storm asks for a sound off. Rachel groans and so Storm tells her she is to go first. Rachel sarcastically says her name and points out she is second in command. The rest list of their names and Storm tells them that Gabriel and Sabra has reconned the site and initiated some containment protocols. Rachel says John Sublime analyzed the inert sample of Arkea and has identified a command structure within her cellular makeup. She may be a hive mind but there is a queen bee and she is nine thousand feet directly below them. Karima takes out a gun and summarizes that if they kill Arkea Prime they kill all of her.

As the team jumps out of the jet, Psylocke asks where the intel came from. Karima tells her it was from Ana Cortes, who claimed she got in over her head playing a dangerous game. Storm says they cannot confirm Ana is on site, as Arkea has infected all of them and it muddles with the telepathic signals. Karima says there are five heat signatures and Rachel tells her the number don’t add up. Monet must have been right and they were recruiting. M gets Storm to slow the others’ decent, as she is going in first to take out the Viking. Rachel asks if smashing through buildings is her new move now, to which M tells her that they wanted a brawler and they got one.

Inside the building below, Arkea knows the X-Men are there, including the one Amora claims to have killed. Amora looks surprised and begins to say that it is impossible, but M cannonballs through the ceiling and slams into her at incredible speed. As they slam through the various floors, M tells Amora that it wasn’t a lucky shot; she aimed for the brightest and most arrogant heat signature. They finally slam into concrete, creating a small crater.

M pins Amora down and tells her that she has eight fractured and two broken bones and that was with her holding back. But she won’t again if Amora so much as twitches her nose. With M’s hand around her throat, Amora tells her that Arkea gave her freedom back but M tells her Arkea will die today. She stands over Amora and tells her that she has been dead before and there is nothing on the other side. Amora still has a choice and, if she is smart, she will take it. M walks away as the defeated Enchantress tells her she is a goddess and asks why she aligns herself with the X-Men. M simply replies that it’s because they are her team.

Typhoid Mary looks down through the hole M created and yells for the rest of her team to spread out. As the rest of the X-Men land on the roof, Psylocke says that Mary is her target. Rachel tells her not to let her get away this time and, as Psylocke jumps through the hole, she smiles and asks if everyone thought Mary was getting away from her. As Mary flees through the building, she starts to hear Psylocke telepathically calling out to her. She taunts Mary and uses her powers to confuse her.

Elsewhere, Arkea is leading Madelyne and Selene away from the fight. Madelyne tells her she doesn’t run from a fight but Arkea says that she has identified a threat. The structure has been exposed and it is not on the municipal grid anymore. Madelyne doesn’t understand why what is so important but Selene tells her Arkea piggybacks on electrical systems. Madelyne asks why she is so worried about an escape plan and wonders if they were brought back for something other than a diversion. As they walk into the courtyard, Arkea tells her she will use them as she sees fit. Madelyne angrily tells her she serves no one but herself.

Storm and Rachel appear out of the shadows and seem a little alarmed to see Madelyne and Selene standing before them. Storm starts summoning lightning around her as she tells the women they have a long history with each other but that won’t stop them as long as they are aligned with Arkea. Rachel telepathically tells her to stop, as Arkea can travel through her lightning. Unfortunately, it is too late and Rachel receives an attack to her head. She collapses to the floor as Arkea tells her she created a telepathic explosion in her mind. Rachel’s nose starts to bleed as she tries to regain herself but Madelyne walks over to her and tells her that it will be over soon.

Psylocke gets the jump on Mary and the two begin fighting with their swords. Mary tells her she cannot believe how easy it was to get past her school’s defenses. As Psylocke slashes at Mary with her psychic katana, she says she cannot believe she was forced to run around the school in her underwear. It is full of teenage boys and she should kill Mary for that alone. Mary tells her she won’t kill her but Psylocke replies that she won’t have to, if Arkea is taken out. All their upgrades will disappear and Mary’s split personalities will come back again. Psylocke then kicks Mary around the head and bemoans the fact Mary wears fishnet stockings.

Madelyne stands over a slumped-over Rachel and tells Storm that she just came back. If Arkea is her ticket to this new life, then she isn’t turning her back on her. Storm offers to make a deal and tells her that she and Selene can walk away right now and they can settle things up later. Selene asks why she would let them escape, to which Storm tells her they came for Arkea but she can be collateral damage if she wishes. The two villainesses think it over for a few seconds and then begin to walk away, with Madelyne declaring she intends to maintain a new Sisterhood. Arkea screams at them and calls them traitors. As the two women leave, Arkea lunges towards Storm in a fit of rage. She says that Storm can command electricity so she will be useful. But M, using her super speed, jumps in between them and grabs Arkea by the neck. She says that Amora and Mary are having some quiet time and the two ringers have literally just left the building.

Arkea begins to struggle but M gets her in a head lock and tells her she is damaging her host body by resisting. Storm informs her that they know she is the center of the hive conscious and M tells her that they have isolated the entire area around the building. Karima walks into the courtyard with Psylocke and asks Arkea if she remembers her. Arkea continues to scream angrily at them all and says that she has populated the entire planet. Storm says that they have neutralized 90% of the Arkea impact points thanks to her brother, who has been very useful. He also sent them a gift, which Karima explains is a self-guided psychic microbial smart bomb. Arkea will die but the host body will live. Karima takes out her gun and says it’s pretty fancy stuff but all she knows is she can shoot her in the head as planned and Reiko will remain unharmed.

M positions Arkea’s head and Karima points a gun at it. Arkea tells Karima that she is a law enforcement officer as well as an X-Man, so she won’t kill her. Karima replies that one day she will be both again but right now she is neither. Plus, Arkea is a psychotic mass murderer so she is okay with it. With that, Karima pulls the trigger and a loud bang rings out.

The body slumps to the floor and Karima kneels down over it. She says that the plan worked and the body is alive, although she isn’t sure who it belongs to now, as Lady Deathstrike’s consciousness is also in there. Rachel confirms that Deathstrike is in control but she is out cold. Arkea is gone and, at the time of termination, there was a psychic ripple transmission. The hive is gone now that Arkea is.

Storm walks forward and puts a hand on Karima’s shoulder and asks if she is alright. Karima replies she isn’t at the moment but she will be soon. She then lets the team know that she won’t be going back with them. Sabra and Gabriel have offered her a job with them and she believes she’ll be a better fit there. She has been looking into Ana Cortes and her family and she wants to finish the job. They barely knew her but so much of what had happened was thanks to her.

Pixie’s voice comes over the radio and asks if they forgot about her. She reminds them the jet is in Japanese airspace and the fact she isn’t answering any of their calls probably puts them on the “hostile” list. Storm tells her they are standing by for pick-up, much to the relief of the young girl sat in the plane. Down below, Gabriel suddenly descends from the sky. He asks Karima if she is ready and then picks her up and flies away as the rest of the X-Men look proudly on.

As the three Arkea-controlled Sentinels advance on the shore of Catalina Island, Cipher, who is in the X-jet, asks where Jubilee is. Jubilee suddenly reappears again after she has gone missing when she turned into her mist form. She swings off one of the Sentinel’s head and starts ripping panels off it. She says the mist thing really did a number on her and then calls out to Quentin to use his power whilst she is distracting the machine. On the jet, Quentin concentrates hard but Cipher tries to get him to hurry up. He yells at her and tells her to take on some ancient evil f’ed-up intergalactic bacterial sociopath herself. She turns to him and asks who is better to take on Arkea than their very own f-ed-up sociopath. As he strains under the pressure of fighting against Arkea, he says he will take it as a personal challenge.

Down below, one of the Sentinels suddenly raises its arms at both sides and charges up its weapons. It fires two huge blasts that destroy the other two Sentinels. It then turns its weapons around and destroys itself.

In the water, Bling! and Mercury watch the huge explosion rip out. Mercury turns to Bling!, splashes her and asks if she really filed a complaint about her. Bling! replies that Mercury punched her in the face and embarrassed her in front of everyone. She asks Mercury to look at her, as she is ugly, her skin is potentially dangerous and she is the only lesbian at the school. She is lonely and she thought Mercury might understand. Mercury replies that she should have just talked to her instead of being creepy by leaving notes under the door. The school is already full of gossip, drama and weirdoes so they should just be cool with each other. She then tells Bling! she isn’t ugly.

The jet lowers down to the two girls as Hellion and Jubilee swim to meet them. Jubilee tells everyone to get on board as they have some serious clean-up to do. She then wonders if the school has a budget for stuff like this. As they climb on board, Jubilee can’t help but notice Hellion is only wearing a pair of short shorts. He says he will trash them the second he gets back home but Jubilee smiles and wonders how she could get the X-logo on them, much to Quentin’s disgust. Cipher says that Karima has reported in and they have made contact with something called Arkea Prime. She asks if they should go help but Jubilee tells her that the other X-Men have it.

Characters Involved: 

Jubilee, M, Omega Sentinel, Psylocke, Rachel Grey, Storm (all X-Men)
Bling!, Cipher, Hellion, Mercury, Pixie, Quentin Quire (all students)

Gabriel Shepherd

Ana Cortes/Lady Deathstrike, Arkea/Reiko, The Enchantress, Madelyne Pryor, Selene Gallio, Typhoid Mary (all Sisterhood)

Story Notes: 

This issue is split into two parts, with different artists dealing with the different sections.

M has died twice now. Once at the end of the X-Factor (3rd series) and again in #9 of this series. The first time Strong Guy brought her back and the second time Gabriel Sheperd did.

Written By: