X-Men (4th series) #16

Issue Date: 
September 2014
Story Title: 
Bloodline (part 4)

Brian Wood (Writer), Matt Buffagni and Gererdo Sandoval (Artists), Paul Mounts (Colourist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (Letterer), Terry Dodgson and Rachel Dodgson (Cover), Frankie Johnson (Assistant Editor), Daniel Ketchum (Editor), Mike Marts (X-Men Group Editor), Axel Alonso (Editor in Chief), Joe Quesada (Chief Creative Officer), Dan Buckley (Publisher), Alan Fine (Executive Producer)

Brief Description: 

After Primal and Sprite recover from their ordeal, Hellion brings them to the rest of the student body. Storm talks to Sabra and gets her to find as much as she can about the Future. Meanwhile, Rachel talks to Kymera and makes her tell her everything she knows about the Future and what is going to happen. Psylocke informs the students that they are going to be the last line of defense for the school, whilst Storm gets some files on the future. After figuring out where he is likely to be, she mobilizes her team. Meanwhile, the Future is in the Adirondacks holding Jubilee captive. He taunts her and tells her that he intends on trading her for Shogo, though Jubilee is adamant that Storm will not take him up on the offer. Afterwards, the Future orders his men to activate the Bloodline and gives them some of his blood to do so. Once they reach the location, M goes on a scouting mission but she is caught off guard by some sentient plants that attack her and drag her into the forest. Kymera is shocked that they are dealing with Bloodline and makes Storm send for Shogo. She reluctantly gets Beast to bring Shogo to the Adirondacks. On the ground, Pyslocke has Anole, Rockslide and Hellion take out the Future’s soldiers, but they refrain from going deep into the sentient forest. The Future sends Storm his demands but she immediately turns them down, infuriating the man. Storm drops Kymera off and goes to wage war on the Future. However, Kymera has plans of her own. 

Full Summary: 

(Jean Grey School Medical Bay)
As the two injured students lie on their beds, Sprite suddenly wakes up with a start, sits upright and realizes she is naked. As Primal begins to stir too, Hellion walks in and throws them some clothes. He tells them he has come to get them out of there and then remarks that they look amazing. He asks how they feel, to which both reply they seem fine. As they put their clothes on, Primal asks what happened to them and Hellion explains their injuries. They seem confused but Hellion tells them there is a briefing in five minutes. As they walk down the hall, Sprite asks who would hurt them, so Hellion tells her it was a guy called the Future. He doesn’t want to get into it now, as they have briefing but all that they need to know it that they are on alert.

A few minutes later, Hellion has explained what went on whilst they were unconscious. Sprite can’t believe Jubilee was kidnapped but Primal just wants to fight. Hellion tells him that is the idea, as Sprite flies behind them in disbelief that Kymera murdered a man. Hellion replies that she knows things they don’t, plus he was the guy that shot Primal. Primal simply utters something about death, to which Hellion agrees.

In the war room, Storm is sat amongst a series of holographic screens. She tells Sabra, who is on the radio, that they have a good physical description but it’s not much good if the man isn’t on any government database. Sabra chips in that he isn’t on any database that Storm has access to anyway. Storm adds that’s why she needs her and Gabriel to trade in every favor they have to find the Future and Jubilee.

Elsewhere, Hellion brings the two students to the rest of their friends. As everyone excitedly crowds around them Psylocke asks him if Beast thinks they have recovered. Hellion replies that they have and it was some miracle cure.

In Storm’s study, Rachel is talking to Kymera. The young girl asks why her mother isn’t doing it and Rachel replies it’s because it would be complicated and emotional. It isn’t hostile but it is serious. She demands Kymera tell her everything she knows right now.

Back in the war room, Sabra, Gabriel and Pixie appear on a monitor and Sabra tells Storm to call in the cavalry, as the Future’s files have some serious levels of redactions on them. Storm assumes that she means the Avengers and points out they should think to call the X-Men sometimes. The X-Men are some of the most powerful beings to ever exist and now one of their own has been held and threatened. They are going to go off like she has never seen before; Storm just needs to know where to aim. Sabra replies that she is sending through what she knows.

Rachel tells Kymera that she understands the timeline but she assures the girl she didn’t alter it by killing the man.

Psylocke gathers the students and tells them there is no B team. The student body was hit so the student body will be the response. Storm is taking the fight to the future but they will be the school’s last line of defense.

Beast is looking after Shogo in his lab and he tells the baby that his mom will be back soon as they X-Men don’t give up on their own.

As Kymera finishes up telling Rachel everything she knows, Storm looks over the files Sabra sent. She notes that there are over one-hundred pages and the Future has built up a criminal empire that spans the globe. Pixie tells Storm that she has been working with Gabriel and that the data indicates there are eleven places where the Future might be. But the closest one is around two-hundred miles north in some mountain compound in the Adirondacks. It also just fired up on the generator grid.

As Psylocke addresses the students, she tells them that Jubilee was just some random kid that fell on hard times. But if they asked her, she would say the X-Men saved her life. That is the defining characteristic of the mutant community. There is no limit to what they will do to support each other. Storm suddenly radios through to everyone and tells them to mobilize.

(the Adirondacks)
In a dilapidated wooden building in the middle of a forest Jubilee wakes up and shouts out to see if anyone else is there. A voice comes over some speakers and tells her the repeated demands to see her son are noted. But there is only one demand that is relevant to her situation and it is implied by her presence there. The voice belongs to the Future and Jubilee asks why he sounds like such a tool.

After a few moments of silence, he ignores her and continues by saying Shogo will be exchanged for her life and the promise of no interference in the future. He asks what she thinks but Jubilee tells them the X-Men won’t do it. They would know she would never want to lose Shogo, especially to him. He tells her she misunderstands her friends. The child is not hers biologically and to her people he is expendable. With tears in her eyes, Jubilee mutters that Shogo is her son. The Future tells her it is a simple business agreement and the X-Men do not want a war with him. Jubilee lashes out and shouts that a war is exactly what he is going to get. They will find him and crush him. They will never cut a deal with him about anything. He wonders if they would if it meant her death. She replies that they are her friends and she trusts them to make the right decision.

In his office, the Future sits at his desk and contemplates what Jubilee said. He asks one of his soldiers if the grid is powered up and the man replies it is but the system remains untested. The soldier continues to talk about the defense mesh but the Future corrects him and calls it the Bloodline. The soldier continues and tells him it has only been deployed in the lab in controlled environments. Never in practical applications. The Future stands up and tells him it is pointless to discuss it, as the X-Men are coming. He orders the man to fire it up and then screams in his face, asking if there is any confusion. The man tells him there is none but they require something. The Future realizes what he needs and takes out his knife. He cuts his finger covering the blade in blood. He hands the man the bloody knife and tells him to deploy the Bloodline. The man obediently takes the blade and goes to carry out his orders.

In the X-jet, Storm asks Rachel what the future holds for them. Rachel explains that Kymera took her through her knowledge of events and the outcome. The Future will die but they lose seven and twelve more are wounded. Storms asks how he did it and Rachel replies that he picked the better battlefield. In that timeline, he had Shogo and he retreated to his safehouse in the Crimea, where he defended it well. This timeline is different because of Kymera and the fact she murdered that soldier. Sitting behind Storm, Kymera leans round and tells them that she would do it again. Storm replies that she hopes the girl did the right thing and then gets Rachel do deploy M to do some recon.

As M launches herself into the air, Rachel informs her it is just a fly-by. Storm says that they can use a Cerebro spike application to build a 3D schematic off her telepathic feedback. Up in the air, M tells the team on the jet that something is wrong down there. Kymera looks at the map that is being drawn on a computer and gets worried as she has seen this before. She tells the rest of them that in her timeline they found some technology in a lab and it was small scale and barely functional. She tells them to get M out of there quickly. Rachel telepathically tells M to get out of there as there is some sort of defense tech in place. M replies that it is organic, with awareness, and it is everywhere. As M hovers above the forest, some vines whip out towards her and start to wrap themselves around her legs. She struggles but more vines attach themselves to her and begin to pull her to the ground. The vines are too strong for her to break and she is powerless as she gets pulled into the forest canopy.

Kymera is astonished, as the Future has wired the forests into something called Bloodline. It is a living ecosystem that they tried to reverse engineer but had to destroy when they deemed it too dangerous. Kymera then informs them they need to bring Shogo there. Storm tells her that the baby is with Beast back at the school and asks what possible reason there would be to have him there. Kymera simply asks Storm to trust her but her mother replies that she does up to a point. She decides to let Shogo come with Beast but they are to stay out of the way.

Staring at the map, Rachel says they need more intel and they need to know the weapon’s range before they make a general assault. She telepathically tells Psylocke to take a team in.

On the ground, Rockslide, Anole, Hellion and Psylocke work their way through the thick vegetation. Psylocke tells them she deemed them mission ready based upon their performances in the Danger Room and so they shouldn’t prove her wrong. Gunfire suddenly rains down on them and the team immediately darts for cover. She contacts Rachel, who tells her that they have the defense perimeter defined and the team is good to engage. On the ground, Psylocke summons a telekinetic mace and gives the order to attack.

They are hiding behind Rockslide, who is complaining that he is being shot at with depleted uranium rounds and he can’t take any more of it. Psylocke tells the team to spread out, locate targets and to take them out. With that, she rushes forward and creates a bunch of telekinetic knives that she throws at some of the soldiers. Hellion takes the brute force approach and just creates a huge telekinetic blast. Anole tells him to take it easy but the cocky teen replies that he does it his way and Anole should do it his own. The lizard-like mutant takes him up on the suggestion and grabs a soldier with his strong arm and launches the man high into the air. Rockslide has had enough of the man with the gun and simply backhands him.

Anole scales a tree and jumps from branch to branch, musing on how the trees can be an asset. He hides above two men and waits for them to pass under him. He jumps down and floors them both. He then yells to Psylocke that the rest of the gang are falling back as the remaining soldiers flee from the raging X-Men. Psylocke yells for the boys to wait, as they are at the perimeter and she is picking up some kind of consciousness. Rachel informs her that Bloodline is an artificial nervous system that has been laid over that section of the forest. To put it simply, the forest is alive. Psylocke asks why it’s called Bloodline, to which Rachel quips why the man calls himself the Future. They are not dealing with a rational mind.

As the boys take a break, Anole asks Psylocke how they did. She tells them that there is a school of thought in the mutant community that the younger ones shouldn’t be put into combat. Hellion points out they have to graduate sometime and Psylocke agrees and tells them they were superb.

Elsewhere, the Future asks if Jubilee can hear him but, before she can reply, he tells her he knows she can. He informs her that her friends have been hurling themselves at his defenses but with little effect. They believe this is an assault-and-rescue mission but he is sending Jubilee’s leader Storm his demands now. Jubilee tells him it is a waste of time and he tells her they will see. Jubilee has known Storm for years and she knows she won’t negotiate. The Future calmly tells her that those who say that tend to change their minds once the bodies start piling up. The infant for Jubilee; it’s a balanced offer she would be stupid to turn down. Jubilee is adamant it won’t happen and the Future points out that, if Storm is the leader she says she is, she’ll be smart. Jubilee is an experienced X-Man, whilst the baby adds nothing to their organization.

On the X-jet, Storm picks up a tablet and tells Rachel she has an offer from someone who doesn’t know her very well. She taps away on the tablet and send the Future a message back. In his base, the Future looks at his own tablet and is infuriated at Storm’s reply. Seeing that she wants a war, he deems it irrational of her. Jubilee replies that she told him it would be like this and this is why he will lose. He is just some crazy old psychopath who thinks family is about owning possessions. The X-Men are a family in the best sense of the word. Storm’s “tactical error” is her choosing loyalty, love and honor over the threats of a terrorist. This is why the X-Men always win. The Future screams that they will not beat him here today and not over this. Jubilee tells him they already have.

Storm tells Kymera to hop out of the X-jet as Beast is inbound with Shogo. She is to stay back behind the line and she emphasizes Shogo is not a combatant. She tells Kymera not to do anything stupid to which the young girl simply agrees. Rachel tells her Cipher is standing by with the Dove. Storm tells her to have it orbit at 10,000 feet and supply them with sensor telemetry. The Future has more tricks up his sleeve like Bloodline and she wants to know all about them.

On the ground, Kymera and her panther walk along the grass and she muses that Storm won’t be the one saving the day today. 

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Jubilee, M, Psylocke, Rachel Summers, Storm (all X-Men)
Anole, Bling!, Hellion, Kymera, Mercury, Primal, Rockslide, Sprite, Transonic, Velocidad, (all students)

Shogo Lee

The Future
The Future’s soldiers

(on monitor)
Gabriel Shepherd

Story Notes: 

The team that Psylocke takes into the forest is the group that have been training in the Danger Room in issues #13-15, minus Broo.

Anole’s quip regarding young mutants being put in combat was the primary point of contention between Cyclops and Wolverine’s Schism. As Anole attempts to note subtly, their current actions are agreeing with the opinion of Cyclops, rather than Wolverine’s.

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