X-Men (5th series) #10

Issue Date: 
September 2020
Story Title: 

Jonathan Hickman (writer), Lenil Francis Yu (artist), Sunny Gho (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller (designer), Leinil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho (cover artists), Phil Noto (variant cover artist), Nick Russell (production), Annalise Bissa (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Vulcan has a nightmare about being in the Fault, then having his body torn apart by three strange aliens who were fascinated by the power within him. He wakes and finds Petra and Sway already preparing for a drinking session, making margaritas. Petra jokingly refers to Vulcan as “Emperor” which Vulcan doesn't seem to like. Vulcan has one drink with his friends before he heads off for a walk on the moon, where he finds a strange, lush garden landscape is growing. There, the Cotati have a station set up where they appear to be growing some pods. Vulcan talks to them and suggests that they avoid invading Krakoa, as his friends will not be happy. Back inside the Summer House, Petra and Sway continue to drink and notice an explosion across the moon. Vulcan has been attacked by the Cotati, and after they tried to plant some sort of seed in him, he released a huge amount of power, destroying most of this contingent of Cotati. Petra and Sway arrive and calm their friend down. He returns to the Summer House to have another drink, and discovers a note from Cyclops that tells him the rest of the family have gone to a beach on Chandilore for the day, and that he is safe because he is with family now.

Full Summary: 

Floating through a rift known as the Fault, Gabriel Summers a.k.a. Vulcan appears lifeless, his body unmoving, when suddenly, his eyes flash with golden energy, when suddenly, a large green tentacle grabs Vulcan by his wrist, then begins to cover Vulcan completely, capturing him and uttering 'Gently... the celestial avatar escaped – that King is lost to us. So let's take a bit more care with this one'. Vulcan struggles to breathe when the alien covers his face with the tentacle, before Vulcan is dragged into the large mouth of the huge green tentacled alien.

Shortly, Vulcan finds himself floating before three aliens wearing strange headresses. 'These two kings and their empires waged a war that tore a hole – that opened a door – between this place and that' one of them states, before raising a hand, and remarking 'I wonder what's a king worth there? Let's see shall we?' the blue-skinned alien asks, before Vulcan screams in agony, as his body is torn apart by the aliens. 'Ah...look at that. He has fire within him. True power inside a broken and twisted host' the alien with reddish skin remarks, as a glowing flame can be seen inside Vulcan. 'Yes. But how broken. And how twisted?' the green-skinned alien with two mouths and four eyes asks, both mouths grinning wickedly.

'Ahh!' Vulcan exclaims as he opens his eyes, rubs the back of his head and sits up from where he was sleeping. 'Damn it' he mutters to himself, before putting his yellow boots on and making his way down a corridor, to where he finds his old teammates Suzanne Chen a.k.a. Sway and Petra in a kitchen. Sway is sitting on a bench, several bottles of alcohol and other ingredients for making cocktails next to her, while Petra stands nearby. 'Hey! Look who's up!' Sway calls out as she sees Vulcan approaching. 'Just in time, Emperor' Petra remarks, to which Sway tells her not to call him that, as he doesn't like it. 'But I like it... and I'm the one making margaritas' Petra replies. 'Here we go again, huh?' Vulcan asks. 'You know what I like to say. There's always time for margaritas... and if there's not... well, I'm me...' Sway responds. 'So there's always time for margaritas' Petra smiles as she places some ingredients in a blender. 'Ugh, too loud' Vulcan complains at the noise, covering his ears, before he asks where Scott and everyone else are.

Petra tells him that they are gone, that they took the kids somewhere, but they let him a note. 'Regardless, you know what that means, don't you?' she asks. 'No adult supervision. Say goodbye to the boring mutants, say hello to the trash bags' Sway exclaims. Petra hands Vulcan a margarita and tells him that they are going to wreck this place. 'So... drink up, Emperor' she smiles.

Vulcan takes the drink and tells Petra that he really wishes she wouldn't call him that, when suddenly, Petra and Sway clutch their heads and complain about brain freeze. 'I hate that...' Petra mumbles, before turning to Vulcan, who is drinking his margarita, 'What about you? Not so much?' she asks. Vulcan tells her that he doesn't get brain freeze, that he never has. 'Why not? Oh, I know..' Petra begins, before she and Sway smile as they sing “He has a fire burning within him”.

Vulcan puts the margarita on the bench, 'I don't know if today is -' he begins, before Sway tells him to hold that thought. She leans against the bench where Petra is now sitting, and asks 'Are we drinking? Or are we drinking?' Sway asks, adding that she wouldn't mind turning things up to ten. 'I say eleven!' Petra exclaims, throwing her arms into the air, she declares that there are a lot of very hot medium-powered mutants on the island that would love to get down at the Summer House. 'I have some ideas I'm noodling on, but I don't want you judging me right now' Sway remarks. 'Either way, what do you say, Emperor? Party? Or party?' she asks. Vulcan pauses, before turning and walking away from his friends, informing them that he is going for a walk.

Vulcan steps out of the Summer House and onto the surface of the Moon. Some mutants live on the Moon, in what is called the Summer House. Vulcan's footprints can be seen as he walks across the grayish landscape, the Moon is far from the Sea of Tranquility, nestled in the shadows of the meridian fissure. It is just one lunar mile from the Blue Area of the Moon, and the ruins of an ancient civilization. Once, it was a place of nightmares for mutants – but that past has been put to rest – the pain of that memory erased forever. Vulcan looks down as two small green vines rise up around his ankle. He continues on across the Moon, before coming to a large crater, where, in this Blue Area of the Moon, something new has taken root. A lush landscape filled with strange plant life.

Some sort of carnivorous plant can be seen near Vulcan as he makes his way through the bizarre plants, a noise, Ska-THOOMP can be heard over and over, before Vulcan comes to a stop: 'Of course...' he utters, as he sees several Cotati aliens carrying large glowing spheres from a strange seed pod. Vulcan approaches the aliens and tells them 'That's some feat of engineering...I would know. My mutant eyes are capable of seeing great things'. Vulcan stands among the Cotati and tells them that he is no gifted with telescopic vision, nor is he known for accurately judging the trajectory of things, so he will assume that Earth is their general target, and that they are doing their best not to hit the island his people call home. 'Because that would be a mistake. You're going to want to steer clear of Krakoa' he warns the Cotati.

'Saying that, I feel the need to tell you... All this... violence you're doing... it never ends well. Believe me' Vulcan adds, before a large Cotati walks up behind him and says something in his native language. 'Oh, I know. I understand where it comes from. You look at humanity and find them wanting. You look at what they're capable of – and there's so little good to balance out all that evil... I can see why you want to destroy them. I really can'. Vulcan turns around the Cotati towering over him, 'But once you start down that road... have you considered what that makes you?' Vulcan asks.

Back inside the Summer House, Petra and Sway are lounging on chairs as they look out a large window that shows them the landscape beyond the Summer House, with the Earth seen in the space beyond. 'Here you go. Round three' Sway remarks, before asking Petra 'Any sign of him?' 'He went in that general direction... and nope. Not a peep' Petra replies. Sway looks over at Petra and asks her if she wants to go after Vulcan. 'My head says yes, but this drink says no. so maybe in a minute' Petra  replies. An instant later, an explosion can be seen in the direction Vulcan ventured into. Ah, Hello, Emperor' Petra remarks. 'What about now?' Sway asks, sipping her margarita. 'Now my head says hell no and my drink says I'm delicious, please finish me' Petra replies, before asking Sway what she thinks. 'We'll give it a minute' Sway responds.

Back outside, Vulcan is now surrounded by a dozen Cotati, two of who hold him down. One of them announces that they have subdued him, but at great cost, and adds that he fights like a wounded beast. 'Let them fight all they want. Let them build their buildings and mine the earth – the jungle always returns. And the flesh is always weak' the large Cotati declares. Vulcan warns the Cotati that he is holding back, speaking to the Cotati in their language. 'The meat speaks our tongue...but it also speaks lies. What meat has ever offered truth freely?' the large Cotati states, adding that they have ways of getting past that. The Cotati hold Vulcan's head in place, as the large Cotati holds out his hand, where a strange pink blob grows. 'What are you doing? Don't...' Vulcan begins, as the pink blob reaches out to Vulcan's face, and the Cotati states that it will take seed and burrow deep. 'If you have anything to hide – we will know it' the Cotati warns Vulcan.

Vulcan screams, as his body is still torn apart, while the alien with reddish skin and one large eye uses some sort of green energy against Vulcan and states 'There! It's done!' Vulcan then utters 'My mind... my mind, it... what have you done to me?' he asks, while the blue skinned alien tells Vulcan that there was a flaw in him, an error in his existence, a crack in his firmament. The alien with reddish skin tells remarks that he cannot be fixed, so they have made him into something else. 'A flaw? What flaw?' Vulcan asks, tears streaming down his face. The blue skinned alien tells Vulcan that he has good in him, some small microscopic measure that, given fertile soil, which could grow into something more – that it is a cancer, and that is unacceptable for the work they have set in front of him.

The green skinned alien with two mouths and four eyes explains that they have separated the two, that inside, hidden under a thin layer of that good, is the beautiful broken creature that he is. The reddish skinned alien informs Vulcan that they are going to release him back into the universe and tells him 'They will see you as changed – reborn, healthy and whole but that is just a shell. Underneath it – buried alive in a shallow grave – is the real you. You can lie to yourself, pretend to be better – to be unbroken – but we know what's waiting there inside you...waiting to get out'.

Vulcan stares at the pink blob which has taken the form of a flower, with vines reaching out and touching his face – then there is a massive explosion, tearing through the Cotati and the lush landscape they created. Vulcan lashes out and blasts the large seed-pod which the Cotati were carrying the golden spheres from, destroying it. The large Cotati survived the blast and shelters behind some rock, 'He's mad! He's lost his mind! He's going to kill us all!' the Cotati tells another survivor. Vulcan walks towards them, 'You wanted truth? Well, this is a hard truth. You're going to die here today' Vulcan warns them. 'This is but a season. A pass from one to the next' the tall Cotati utters, raising some sort of weapon and aims it Vulcan, telling him that they will take seed, and return one day. Vulcan roars at the Cotati and releases some sort of energy, destroying the Cotati. 'Hey there, Emperor' a voice calls out.

Rage in his eyes, Vulcan turns to see Petra and Sway sitting on a large vine nearby. 'You about done here?' Sway asks, as Vulcan drops to the ground. 'I... I...' his voice trails off. The women walk over to him and Petra calls him Gabriel and tells him that it is okay, and that it is over. Vulcan suddenly sees the three aliens in his mind, before he powers down, the rage disappears and he tells Petra and Sway that he could break the moon in half if he wanted – but he doesn't want to be this way. 'We know. So why don't we get out of here' Sway tells Vulcan, putting a hand on his shoulder. Petra calls him Gabriel again and offers to make them a drink. Vulcan smiles and tells his friends that they can go home. He leads the way back across the moon, with Sway and Petra following him.

A note lies somewhere at the Summer House that reads:


You were asleep and I didn't want to wake you...

Jean and I are taking the kids to Chandilore for the day. I know we've talked about you getting out and not just staying at the house, and I really think you should reconsider it.

I know coming back here to Shi'ar space was out of the question – maybe it shouldn't be – but doing the same thing over and over, each and every day, makes it hard to become someone new. I know that deep down that's what you want.

And, hey, I promise I'll be with you the whole way. Come fire, come war, come anything that would stand in the way. You're safe, because you're with family.

We'll probably be home after dinner.

Love, Scott.

And on the shore of a beach on Chandilore, Wolverine relaxes in a beach chair, while Cyclops and Jean Grey walk through the shallows of the water, young Cable stands on the beach, while Rachel Summers stands nearby, glancing off into space.

Characters Involved: 

Petra & Sway

Cable, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Prestige, Wolverine

in flashback:
Emperor Vulcan

Story Notes: 

This issue ties into the “Empyre” event.

The flashback with Vulcan encountering the aliens takes place after War of Kings #6 and before X-Men (5th series) #1.

Petra and Sway first appeared, and died, in the X-Men: Deadly Genesis mini series, and were first seen restored to life in X-Men (5th series) #8.

X-Men (5th series) #9 ended with Vulcan, Jean Grey, Cyclops and Havok surrounded by Brood on a planet at the edge of Shi'ar space, with no explanation as to what happened between that issue and this.

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