X-Men (4th series) #2

Issue Date: 
August 2013
Story Title: 
The Primer (Part 2)

Brian Wood (Writer), Olivier Coipel (Penciler), Mark Morales, Scott Hanna and Olivier Coipel (Inkers), Laura Martin, Matt Miller and Christina Strain (Colourist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (Letterer), Olivier Coipel and Frank 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: 

Arkea, in Karima Shapandar’s body, attacks Beast in his lab and then accesses the school’s computer system. She spots on the CCTV that Sublime is there and puts the school on shutdown. The emergency systems trigger across the school and everyone gets locked in their rooms. Rachel tries to get in the system but is unable. Beast tries to figure out what is going on but, when Arkea makes it clear she is in charge of Karima, he sets Rogue on her. Rogue smashes into the room and knocks Arkea down. She quickly turns the tables on Rogue and shrugs off Beast’s attempts to drug her. Outside, Storm and Kitty are trying to break through the doors to get to the lab. When Kitty says the computer systems have been hacked, Sublime tells her it’s his sister. Storm tells Kitty to go and destroy the electric systems in the school to stop Arkea but Sublime says the only way to stop her is to kill the host body. In the lab, Arkea is downloading the entire X-Men database. She is impressed by the design of mutants and tells Rogue she sees why Sublime sought them out. She lets slip the only threat to her is Kitty, who phases in the room at that moment. Kitty phases into Karima’s arm, disabling her hand cannon. She fights Arkea but is careful not to damage any vital systems, all the while trying to find out of there are any signs of Karima’s personality still inside. Arkea grabs Kitty by the throat but Kitty points out she can phase through the body to disable her. Arkea relents and gets Kitty talking. After a short while, Arkea fires her hand cannon, blasts through the roof and flies away. When the computer systems come back online, the team preps the Blackbird to follow, taking Sublime with them. When Jubilee appears with the baby, wanting to come, Storm says no, but Jubilee replies that she’s safer with them than at the school right now. Storm relents and lets Jubilee on the plane. In the air, Sublime talks to Jubilee and says that Arkea hitched a ride in the baby, called Shogo. When she left Shogo, she left a new person behind and he will be fine. Sublime also apologizes for following her and scaring her earlier on. Meanwhile, back at the school, Kitty leads a small group of students in the clean up process. Bling! discovers a box with a timer on it that is counting down and currently sits at three seconds to zero.

Full Summary: 

(Jean Grey School)

In Beast’s lab, Arkea, possessing Omega Sentinel, lies on the floor. She has numerous life support tubes coming out of her and some of them have come loose, spraying green gas everywhere. Beast is stunned that Karima is conscious and asks how it’s possible. She stands up and walks forward, ripping the other tubes out. She walks over to one of the computer terminals and starts operating it. When Beast goes to her and puts his hands on her shoulder, she glances at him and then punches him across the room whilst declaring she is Arkea. As Beast lies in a heap on the other side of the room, Arkea views the monitors and brings up the CCTV feed. She spots Rachel and Psylocke interviewing John Sublime and seems a little surprised he is there so soon.

Beast weakly asks who she is but she ignores his question and tells him his kind harbors Sublime. Beast says he has no idea what she is talking about but she calls him a liar. She says he is there and they will destroy him. She presses something on the consol, much to Beast’s shock. An alarm rings through the school and a voice tells everyone to proceed to the designated safe zones as lockdown is now in effect. In one of the hallways, Pixie and Hellion hear the noise and say they had better get moving.

In the interview room, Sublime asks Rachel if she heard him. He goes to speak again but Rachel gets Psylocke to mentally shut him up. Rachel uses her telepathy to see that someone tripped the danger room’s triple dark security protocol. She tries to override the computer but she has no luck. She tells Psylocke that the computer simply laughed at her. Rachel puts her fingers to her head and says she is looping in Storm and Kitty. She says there is a massive security hack originating in the labs but Beast isn’t responding. Rogue is headed down there now. Psylocke reminds her that Sublime was talking about Jubilee. All she’s getting from him now is “the infant” over and over again in his mind. When Rachel asks if she can get a read on Jubilee, Psylocke says she is upstairs but she isn’t picking up any trace of an infant with her or anywhere else. Rachel confirms the same thing. Meanwhile, Jubilee is asleep on a bed with the baby lying right next to her.

In the lab, Beast slowly picks himself up. He tells “Karima” that she has been in a coma for months. He feared she had been brain damaged so he placed her in stasis. He then asks who “Arkea” is. She asks him if he is responsible for the body she inhabits. Before he can answer, she tells him it’s archaic but a rather magnificent specimen. Beast tells her she is no specimen and that Karima was… is their friend. Arkea tells him she suspects Karima is no longer present in there. As she operates the computer, she says that he has just operated a local point-to-point data burst device. She then asks him what end and he replies to hers. He clicks a button and tells Rogue to target ten meters to the left of the signal.

Rogue suddenly bursts through the big metal doors and flies towards Arkea. She grabs her around the waist and slams her to the ground. As Rogue holds her up, Arkea says that she is as strong as the blue one, yet her outward physiology presents as inferior. Rogue is shocked to see she is holding Karima but Beast screams that it isn’t her. He yells that she is gotten full control of the school and orders Rogue to hit her hard. Rogue apologizes and then slams Arkea as hard as she can into the floor. Arkea lies on the floor as Rogue stands over her.

Rogue begins to ask Beast if she’s dead but, before he can answer, Arkea licks her lips and tastes the blood on them. Arkea holds out her hand to Rogue, causing her to ask if it’s Karima. Instead, however, the arm turns into a weapon that blasts Rogue across the room. Arkea spins and points the gun at Beast, who holds up his hands. She tells him attacking her is unadvisable, as she has increased her power output. She says Karima’s body is very capable. Beast tells her that he built it himself and then asks if the technology inside her is what allows her to possess Karima. She tells him she is Arkea and then she orders him to stand down as his systems contain valuable data.

Rogue yells at Beast as Arkea fires another blast at her. She dodges and asks him if he can regain control over the security. He tells her the question will be moot in a moment. He then grabs Arkea, points her gun away and injects her in the neck. She shoves him across the room again and asks him what that was. He tells her a morphine cocktail that was enough to take down a herd of elephants. Arkea starts telling him the chemical properties of morphine and then asks if that’s meant to render her inoperable. Rogue suddenly punches her from behind and tells her to stop talking like a freak.

Elsewhere, Storm asks Rachel for an update. Rachel says that Beast was feeding them updates until the security dampeners kicked in and, since that, they have been blind. The two of them get to Kitty, who is analyzing the metal door that has locked them out of the lab. Storm says that it’s unacceptable, as they have no access and no way to contact Beast or Rogue. Kitty says there are fifty fail-safes in place to make sure the danger room protocols never get used against them. However, even she is locked out and the intruder rewrote the code… all tens of thousands of lines of it.

Psylocke and Sublime come up to them. She tells them that she let him go and he promised to use his indoor voice. He explains his sister Arkea is in control of the school and he’s a little surprised she hasn’t killed them all yet. Storm asks him if Arkea moves through technology and confirms. She will learn what she can, destroy all in her way and then move on to a new target. Her intentions are primal, whereas he has learned a level of humanity from his hosts. Storm sarcastically says he must be proud of himself but adds that Arkea must not have expected to find the X-Men when she arrived there. Storm tells Kitty to target every electrical system in the school but to prioritize targets, as they will have to justify it to Wolverine later on.

As Kitty heads off, Rachel says that they have to protect Jubilee. She then telepathically adds that Jubilee’s at risk. Storm says she’s upstairs and then tells her to send someone to watch her and make sure she stays there. She says that, since Rogue managed to get in the lab whilst it was under lockdown, she has to assume she and Kitty can handle things here. Sublime tells her not to be a fool, as it’s their own security that is their undoing. They are prisoners in their own house and his sister knows he is there. Psylocke says they have defeated worse but he turns around and angrily says they haven’t. Rachel says that he wanted to work with them, so stop telling them what they are doing wrong and tell them how to win instead. Sublime says not to have Kitty waste her time killing the infected systems and have her kill the host body instead.

As Karima continues to operate the computer consoles, Rogue shouts at her and says she knows Karima is still in there. Arkea tells her she’s wasting her time as she cut oxygen to the area twelve minutes ago. She says she’s accessed the X-Men’s personal data packets and is impressed by the number of random mutations within such a limited sampling. She asks if they have trouble mating. She then tells Rogue to disregard that and says that they are formidable in an unexpected way. Perhaps she was hasty to think her brother was weak for seeking refuge with them. In fact, there is one called Kitty Pryde who exposes a vulnerability to this body’s systems. As she says this, Kitty phases her head through the wall of the room and sees the carnage inside. Arkea continues talking to Rogue and asks her what she knows about Kitty. Rogue spots Kitty and tells Arkea that she runs her mouth off too much for someone with superior intellect. She then tells Kitty to hit the arm cannon, which Kitty does, diving at Arkea and phasing through her arm.

Rachel contacts Kitty and tells her that Sublime suggests taking out the host body. Kitty tells her it’s Karima but Rachel says there’s no knowing how much of Karima is still in there. She then asks if she can take her down non-lethally. As she fights with Arkea, Kitty tells Rachel she’s trying. Rachel tells her that Sublime is claiming it won’t be enough but Kitty replies that Karima is one of them.

Every time Arkea tries to hit Kitty, her hand goes through her. Arkea says she is difficult like she expected. Kitty phases her hand into her shoulder and shouts to Karima that she needs a sign. Arkea angrily screams that she is Arkea and grabs Kitty by the throat. Kitty says they both know she can take two steps forward and pass through her body. That will kill the core functionality of the cybernetics within the body. She gives Karima one last chance to indicate she’s there.

Arkea thinks for a moment and then lets Kitty go. She says they are indeed formidable. Her brother has grown smarter in the last several millennia and he has chosen his allies well. She says she has downloaded the database and they have a planet to conquer, as well as new enemies to defeat. But not today. She tells Kitty she has used the spare moments to regenerate her damaged circuitry. With that, she sends a huge blast upwards and flies out of the building.

Rogue emerges from the rubble and asks Kitty if she would have phased through Karima to destroy whatever that thing was. Kitty pauses for a few seconds and then tells Rogue she doesn’t know. The radio suddenly starts working and Rachel asks if everyone is okay. She tells her everyone is okay but a little banged up. She says Arkea bugged out, though, and Rachel tells her they are tracking her. Rogue picks up an unconscious Beast and they make their way up to the others. As they marvel at how heavy Beast is, they fail to notice a metal box with a timer on it.

In the hanger bay, they prep the Blackbird for flight. Storm asks where Arkea is and Rachel says she’s gone over the Atlantic. If they go supersonic, they can catch up with her over Africa or the Med, depending on her trajectory. Sublime says that Arkea doesn’t give up or retreat and anything she does is tactical. Psylocke asks who will babysit Sublime whilst she flies the jet. Rachel volunteers and tells Psylocke to strap him in and shut him up, because they need to be in the air five minutes ago.

A voice comes from behind them and they see Jubilee running towards them with the baby. She is surprised that they aren’t taking her with them, to which Storm replies that they aren’t taking a baby into combat. Jubilee says the baby will be safer with them than at the school as the computers are still acting crazy. Storm puts a hand on her shoulder and bends down to her. She says that it isn’t about her right now, to which Jubilee angrily shouts back at her. She tells Storm not to talk down to her and to have some faith. She was one of the X-Men that found her and taught her after all. She’s involved, plus the little guy is practically an X-Man as well. Storm asks if he has a name yet and Jubilee tells him it’s Shogo. Storm tells her to get on the plane and Jubilee hurriedly gets on.

In the air, Jubilee notices that Sublime is looking at Shogo and tells him that Shogo sleeps a lot. Sublime guesses that he’s been sleeping since the train. Jubilee asks how he knew that and he replies that he tried to tell the others that Arkea hitched a ride in the child’s body. That’s why he was following her. Jubilee nervously asks if she is still in there but he says no. When they take over a host body and then leave it, they leave a new person behind. It is kind of like hitting a reset button. Jubilee asks if Shogo will be okay and Sublime says he will be. She should be thankful he is so young but, when he does wake, her son will need her. He will need to see her and touch her. He then apologizes for frightening her before.

Sublime goes and sits down next to Rachel and she says that was almost not unkind of him. He says that he has heard it said that the X-Men consider themselves a family. For the child’s sake, he hopes that it true. Jubilee holds Shogo and he slowly opens his eyes and sees Jubilee staring back at him. She holds him close and whispers that Sublime called him her son.

Back at the school, standing on a huge pile of rubble, Kitty addresses the few students who didn’t get into the safe zones. The school is on lockdown and their friends and peers are locked in their rooms. The lucky few are helping her debug and clean up. Their system was hacked by an alien intruder and, whilst the diagnostics are mostly coming back clear, she isn’t taking any chances. Pixie groans and Bling! asks how Jubilee is. She tells her that she is fine and she hasn’t heard anything else from the away team yet. She tells them to get on with their assignments.

Bling! walks to the debris and spots something unusual in it. It’s a metal box, which she flips over. She gets Kitty’s attention and tells her she’s found a thing. Kitty asks her to be specific and Bling! says it’s a sort of scary thing with a time that’s about to hit zero. The timer on the box sits at 00:00:03.

Characters Involved: 

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

Omega Sentinel (possessed by Arkea)

Bling!, Hellion, Pixie and Teon (all students)

John Sublime


Story Notes: 

Karima has been in a coma ever since Hellion fought her after she lost control of her sentinel side in X-Men Legacy (1st series) #243.

Beast isn’t exactly telling the truth when he tells Arkea that he built Karima’s body. It was Bastion who turned her into an Omega Sentinel and fitted her with an array of cybernetic equipment. Beast simply maintains the technology.

Rogue obviously still has the powers of flight, super strength and durability she absorbed during the last issue.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: