X-Men (4th series) #20

Issue Date: 
December 2014
Story Title: 
Exogenus part 3

Marc Guggenheim (Writer), Harvey Tolibao and Dexter Soy (Penciler), Ed Tadeo, Dexter Soy, Scott Hanna, Norman Lee and Craig Yeung (Inkers), VC’s Joe Caramagna (Letterer), Paul Mounts (Colorist), 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: 

Rachel, D’Keth and the Shi’ar soldiers fight for their lives as they are swarmed by numerous alien creatures. When D’Keth gets into trouble, Rachel ignores him but he is saved by the other X-Men. After the fight, they note a strange brand on all the creatures and realize it is from genetic testing. Rachel informs the rest of the group that it was advice from D’Keth that caused the Shi’ar to murder her family. D’Keth tells them that the symbol they are seeing on the creatures is from the Providian Order, a secret group that he has only ever heard of before. Elsewhere, Sharada Darthri of the Order has a meeting with other members of the group to discuss recent events. They are unhappy that their mission to bring a uniformity to the species of the universe has been compromised. Their gene-splicing lab has been discovered and they order Sharada to clean up her mess. She radios Manifold Tyger on the Peak and informs him to kill everyone on board. The X-Men on the Acanti find holographic videos of the moment Deathbird escaped captivity. After replaying them, they discover that Sharada was going to splice Kree DNA into Deathbird’s baby to create a Shi’ar/Human/Kree hybrid. During the procedure, though, Deathbird woke up and killed the scientists before escaping the lab. On the Peak, Cecilia goes to inspect the unconscious Storm, who passed out after restarting the space station’s engines. She discovers strangulation marks around her neck and is shocked when Manifold Tyger says he is going to kill her too. 

Full Summary: 

On the Acanti Skywhale, when she and D’Keth are attacked by a swarm of strange, alien creatures, Rachel telepathically contacts Psylocke and M to let them know. M looks around the laboratories and tells Rachel that it’s empty where they are, to which Rachel retorts that it’s because all the creatures are with her. As they fight against the hordes of aliens, Rachel tells Psylocke that they are the same creatures they saw in Deathbird’s memories. They look like a mixtape of the universe’s biggest and baddest.

Almost overcome by the sheer number of them, Rachel lets out a telekinetic burst, blasting them all away… temporarily. As they soon amass again, she comments that it must be every freakazoid on the station. D’Keth is overcome by the aliens and calls out to Rachel for help but she simply ignores his pleas. Help comes as M punches the creatures off him and Psylocke helps him to his feet. Psylocke asks Rachel if she is alright and wonders why she didn’t help D’Keth when he asked.

On another strange, alien ship far away, Sharada Darthri is summoned before a group of holograms. The woman, adorned in a long shawl and dress, is remarkably beautiful except for her eyes, which appear to be that of a Brood. One of the holographic people tells her she has some accounting to do but Sharada solemnly replies that she doesn’t by her reckoning. The holograms each speak in turn and tell her that a Shi’ar Warbird has found her laboratory and that discretion was supposed to be the key. The Providian Order’s existence is never allowed to rise to a whisper but now they have been found. Their agent on the Peak has informed them that Deathbird escaped and, worse still, she is with child. The information has come to them late and they should have been told Deathbird was at large.

When asked for her side, Sharada tells the others that she is an equal member of the collective and should not be called into account, as she is charged with a magnificent purpose. She lists off numerous alien races and declares the Order’s creed is to bring uniformity to the universe. Ability and potential will no longer be the province of a single race. To that end, she has created new species, the first since their gods flirted with the notion of creation.

One of the others tells Sharada not to preen but she replies she was simply reminding them of what they requested her to do. Another of the group angrily tells her they requested secrecy and discretion but now all her work is about to be undone. Sharada says that her objective was only to create. One of the others turns her words on her and says she knows better than most that, to create, she often has to destroy. He then commands that she clean up her mess by any means necessary.

Back on the Acanti, the fight is over and the alien creatures lie dead on the floor. As they inspect the creatures, Psylocke tells D’Keth he didn’t have to kill them but replies they did as it was their duty. Lifting up one of the creatures’ legs, M looks at a marking on it and comments that she thought tattoos were an Earth thing. Finding the same marking on another creature, Psylocke tells her that it is a branding creature by genetic engineering, as opposed to burning it on.

Rachel asks if the symbol looks familiar and D’Keth inspects one for himself and says it is disturbing. Before he can finish his sentence, Rachel cuts him off and tells him if she was talking to him then he would know because her fists would be pounding on his face. Psylocke is a little taken aback by that but Rachel tells her it is a long story. Rachel then goes back on what she said and says that it is actually quite simple: D’Keth was the one who came up with the idea of wiping out her family. Psylocke puts her hand on Rachel’s shoulder and tells her she is so sorry. Rachel changes the subject though and points out the symbol they see here was also seen when they looked in Deathbird’s memories. D’Keth tells them it is the symbol of the Providian Order but, when questioned, says he has no idea who they are. He says they are merely a rumor and he only knows of them by their sigil.

On the Peak, Cecilia reiterates her previous observation that Deathbird is pregnant, but Jubilee and Brand are having a hard time getting their heads around the idea. Jubilee asks who the father is and Brand guesses that it was Vulcan, Deathbird’s husband. Brand radios down to Manifold Tyger and asks what the status of the engine is. He replies that it is working but Storm is unconscious and he suggests Cecilia meet them in the medical bay.

Jubilee wonders how Deathbird is still pregnant, given that she must have been knocked up ages ago. Cecilia suggests that since Deathbird was placed in stasis after her accident, then the baby must have also been subject to the stasis. Brand asks if Cecilia thinks that whoever was after Deathbird was after the baby, but Celia replies that she is just a doctor, not a detective.

As Manifold Tyger carries Storm to med bay, he receives a call of Sharada, who enquires about his current status. He tells her he is on the Peak and she replies that she needs him to kill everyone on board.

On the Acanti, the group watches a holographic replay of when Deathbird escaped from her captivity. With tubes attached, Deathbird leaps at the scientists around her, vowing revenge and slashing at them with her talons. Rachel asks for the program to be frozen and they realize that she had escaped from the scientists before heading to the Peak. They rewind the hologram to before she escaped and spot Sharada observing Deathbird in her stasis tank. M wonders who she is and spots that Sharada has Brood eye, to which Rachel adds that she seems to be in charge. One of the scientists in the hologram tells Sharada that Deathbird’s vitals are spiked and, if they proceed, they risk permanent injury. Sharada informs him that Deathbird is merely a vessel and the life of the child is what’s important. Getting up close to Deathbird’s stasis tube, she says that a child with the combined power of Deathbird and Emperor Vulcan would be instrumental to their cause. Watching the scene, Psylocke wonders what cause they mean and asks for the video to be moved forward a few days.

D’Keth takes the opportunity to address the unfinished business between him and Rachel but she squarely tells him it isn’t the time or the place. He ignores her and says he acted with the best interests of the Shi’ar Empire and the entire universe. She says he killed her family because he thought the Phoenix could only symbiote with her geneline. Now that the Phoenix has bonded with five different people, none of whom carry a single strand of Grey DNA, she wonders if he cares to rethink his theory of familicide. Before she can get a response, the Shi’ar soldier operating the hologram says he has isolated the moment of Deathbird’s awakening.

The group watches as the scientists crowd around an unconscious Deathbird as she lies on a table, plugged in to numerous machines with wires and tubes. They prepare to splice Kree DNA into the baby and marvel at the possible outcome. As the process starts, the scientists note a cortex spike coming from Deathbird and are alarmed when she suddenly wakes up. They try to subdue her with drugs but they are too slow and she rips many of the tubes out before lunging at them in a feral rage. The video is stopped at the point they saw earlier as Deathbird attacks and kills the scientists. Despite knowing what they know, they are still left with the lingering question as to who the Providian Order are.

On the Peak, Cecilia meets with Manifold Tyger in the med bay and sees Storm unconscious on a table. Cecilia notices there are strangulation marks on her neck and asks Tyger what happened. Tyger tells her it was his doing and that he is going to have to kill her to now. With his teeth bared and claws out, he advances on Cecilia. 

Characters Involved: 

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

Cecilia Reyes


Agent Brand
Manifold Tyger
SWORD agents

Shi’ar soldiers

Sharada Darthri

(as Holograms)
Unnamed members of the Providian Order

Story Notes: 

The Grey family was killed in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #466-467.

Deathbird married Vulcan in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #485 but was put into a coma after being stabbed by Lilandra in X-Men: Kingbreaker #4.

Written By: