X-Men (5th series) #12

Issue Date: 
November 2020
Story Title: 

Jonathan Hickman (writer), Leinil Francis Yu (artist), Sunny Gho (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller (designer), Lenil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho (cover artists), Jay Bowen (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Annalise Bissa (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

As the Cotati invasion of Krakoa continues, the mysterious Summoner has begun a strange game with Rockslide, while Anole and Loa watch. The game is apparently about discovering weaknesses, and Summoner discovers that Rockslide's external form is simply a rocky shell housing the energy that is his real self. Apocalypse appears and the young mutants leave, before the Summoner starts to tell his grandfather about the history of Arakko, detailing how Krakoa and Arakko were once known as Okkara, but it was torn asunder by the Twilight Sword of their enemy, and how Arakko and its defenders were pushed into a chasm and sealed shut. The story details information about the original Horsemen, and of Apocalypse's wife, Genesis. Wars, betrayals, the world called Amenth, rituals and mysterious towers. The birth of the Summoner, Councils, more battles and the enemy leader Annnihilation and more dark and fascinating aspects of the history of the island and its ancient people. Apocalypse sends the Summoner, with Banshee and Unus, through the new External Gate, to Otherworld as part of a plan to save Arakko. The Summoner is confident that a new age is upon them, as he follows Banshee and Unus through the gate.

Full Summary: 

Krakoa, at the Arakko Point, where Victor Borkowski, Alani Ryan and Santo Vaccarro – a.k.a. Anole, Loa and Rockslide, respectively – are in a clearing with the mysterious Summoner, who sits in front of a tree stump, playing some sort of a game – with Rockslide, who has been turned into a gamepiece. Around Krakoa, a war is raging against the alien Cotati. The Summoner tells the young mutants that they have learned so much about one another – what they love, what they hate – the things they believe. 'All the fear in our hearts and doubt in our minds... but now we come to the sharp end of it'. The Summoner looks down at Rockslide and utters 'Real weakness. The chinks in our armor. The soft spots that could cost us everything. Your move, friend'. Rockslide frowns as he looks up at Summoner and mutters 'Yeah, yeah...I'm moving. Now, let me take a good look at you...Ah! I see you. You're invulnerable. That's your mutant power, that you cannot be hurt... except your eyes, Summoner. That's your weakness'.

'Yes. And what about you?' the Summoner responds, examining Rockslide. He tells him that he is fascinating – that his external form is simply a rocky shell, armor of stone that protects and hides the energy self that is the real him.

'So that's why when he blows up...' Anole begins. '... he just reforms. That's pretty cool' Loa adds. 'How's that a weakness?' Rockslide asks. 'Perhaps in this case, weakness is the wrong word' the Summoner responds, pointing out that it is a vulnerability – because if someone knew that, then they would know where – and how – to strike. 'But do not fear, we are all -' the Summoner begins, to which someone asks 'Allies?' and adds 'Mutants with nothing to hide?'

'If so, then good. For I have come seeking knowledge' Apocalypse declares as he steps from the forest into the clearing. The Summoner turns and greets his grandfather, explaining that he was showing his friends an Arakkii game. 'Would you care to join in?' the Summoner asks. 'Do I look like a player of games?' Apocalypse responds. 'Yes. Very much so' the Summoner smiles.

Apocalypse tells the young mutants to leave, and with Rockslide returned to his true size, he leaves  the clearing with Anole and Loa. 'See ya later' Rockslide calls back to the Summoner. 'Soon will not be soon enough' Summoner responds. As Apocalypse sits in front of the Summoner, his grandson asks him if it is time. Apocalypse confirms that he has built the External gate, constructed it on the bones of immortal mutants – just as planned and just as was required.

'So you've made a door home – and the way to Arrako is open. Now we simply have to walk through...' Summoner remarks, before telling his grandfather that he senses hesitation. 'When I saw you – and that you were of my lineage – I put my faith in that. But before I send the whole of Krakoa across Otherworld and into the unknown, there are things I have to know that you have not yet told me' Apocalypse responds. The Summoner asks Apocalypse if he really wants to know what happened, how they fought and how they fell. 'Yes' Apocalypse confirms. 'Very well...' Summoner replies as he begins his story.

flashback, narrated by Summoner in the present:

The Summoner tells Apocalypse that he will start with what he knows that Apocalypse knows – the story as was told to him – Okkara, the one land of mutants. Summoner adds that Okkaro was ancient before that word existed, but not yet old in the way they were old. It was there that the Twilight Sword of the enemy tore the world asunder, and what was one became two – and from the chasm between them – from that dark world – the enemy poured into this world.

The Summoner reveals that at great cost, the army of the enemy, along with Arakko itself, were pushed back through and the chasm was sealed shut. But, like all stories old enough to grow in the telling, it sometimes becomes difficult to separate fact from fiction – or truth from lies. The Summoner tells Apocalypse that some say be stayed behind to prevent that world from falling, to seal the breach and save what could be saved. 'After all, you were Apocalypse, the warrior-god in blue – the great reseeder – the first mutant of the second generation of mutantdom on Earth'. The Summoner explains that there are others who tell stories of betrayal, of sacrificing his family to preserve himself and what little could be saved.

The Summoner informs Apocalypse that there are whispers of something worse, judgment and slavery to fate, that he was a prisoner to the whims of others, but the only sure truth that survives all telling is this – 'What should never have been cleaved in two was separated forever. Husband from wife. Parent from child. Arakko from Krakoa. From one trauma, the mutans of Arakko plunged themselves into the hell of the next one'. 

The Summoner informs Apocalypse that what waited for them was not an army – for some it meant madness, for the rest it was the wasteland of a world called Amenth – a black world, a fallen world. He reveals that what the mutants saw surprised them – a desolate nothing, littered with the bodies of defeated enemies. They all knew this handiwork, all recognized the black acts of the White Sword and his One Hundred Champions. But the White Sword was nowhere to be seen – no trace of him remained, but his bloody hand had bought Arakko time.

And with that time, the mutants of Arakko worked wonders. This was their age of legends, a miracle of mutantdom. Much of the work had been done by the brave mutant alchemists and engineers still stands to this day – not all, of course, now only a few remain, but then there were ten towers, and all the land between them was theirs. So, when the army of Amenth finally came, the mutants of Arakko showed them no mercy, and for thousands of years, the towers held and the horde died at their border. Generations of mutants lived and died never knowing defeat, and so, Summoner was born in glory three hundred years ago, toone of the Horsemen War, a female with a fiery head, and a male mutant with blue skin.

The Summoner reveals that, as a child, all he knew was the world inside their walls – it was all any  of them knew – a special ignorance, living in the only safe place in a world of violence and believing it must be this way for all – they knew nothing of what Amenth truly was. When the Summoner's crib mate, the high mutant prophet Idyll, went blind after seeing the fall of their great towers, people say that Genesis laughed at him and threatened to remove his weak head from his weak shoulders. Genesis being the authority of Arakko – the mother of the Horsemen and the wife of Apocalypse. Instead of striking Idyll down, Genesis raised an army, and they were gone for twenty years, fighting. Every few months, word would arrive of their conquests – and all of Arakko would celebrate. They feasted on victory, it was their birthright, and Genesis fed them well. But then, two centuries ago, their army fell silent.

The Summoner explains that later, they would learn the army had reached the Ivory Spire, which was the stronghold of the long-thought lost White Sword, Purity. He was their greatest healer, immortal and External. Each morning, the White Sword resurrected his one hundred champions and rode out to slaughter Amenthi daemons, warring until the last soldier in his army died – only to begin again the next day.

The Summoner states that Genesis told him the death and resurrection cycle the White Sword lived had become his religion, that she said he had become just as alien as the horde he raged against, and the mutants of Arakko were the same to him – and they tasted their first defeat at the hands of one of their own.

They heard nothing more for six years, and then, having escaped by untold and never spoken means, Genesis and the few mutants who survived returned home to Arakko – only to find more defeat waiting for them. Her name was Iscca, the traitor, or Iscca, the unbeaten. Her mutant power was that she could not lose – it was her power that forced her to join Amenth in the war against Okkara – she had to. They were going to win, and she cannot lose. Iscca had been sent to invite Genesis to parlay with Annihilation, the god of Amenth, at the seat of the golden helm's power in the capital city of Amenth, and no one knows what words passed between them – just that Genesis accepted.

It is accepted that the great hall of Annihilation was full that day – that the full might of Amenth was witnessed for the first time, as Amenthi daemons and worse were waiting when Genesis arrived.

The Summoner wonders if the Amenthi were as silent as Genesis was as she approved Annihilation's throne, or whether they screamed and raged, mocked and jeered? But what is known is that Genesis and Annihilation battled to the death with the fate of Arakko in the balance – they battled, and Genesis was found wanting – defeated, unfit and buried. And buried with her was all hope for Arakko.

Their god is called Annihilation for a reason – for one hundred years, the mad horde – the true might of Amenth – battered the walls of Arrako. Mutants died and towers fell. But, somehow, Arakko held. And because there was still hope, hope that somewhere out there Apocalypse had raised a new mutant society, a greater one, and with it, a mutant army that could save them all, they held out until they couldn't any longer, and the Summoner was sent into a void to find Apocalypse, while others sought out a different kind of salvation – but the Summoner knows nothing of their success or failure. The Summoner states that he only knows the last words of War – of farewell and an under siege Arakko.


The Summoner tells his grandfather – great Apocalypse – that they are out of time, that Amenth is on the march – and only he can save them.

Later, Apocalypse and the Summoner stand atop what appears to be some sort of crater, with large pink crystals leading down into the crater. 'Here it is...' Apocalypse remarks. 'As I said...the price was paid – I have done the work. I have built the External Gate' Apocalypse announces, before turning to where Sean Cassidy a.k.a. Banshee and Unus the Untouchable are standing nearby. Apocalypse informs the Summoner that Unus and Banshee will accompany and protect him across Otherworld to Arakko. Banshee remarks that he is a traveling man and is always happy to see the sights.

Apocalypse tells the Summoner that he wants him to find his path and herald his return, and while he does, he will be marshalling the might of Krakoa to rescue Arakko and heal that which was wounded so long ago. Apocalypse puts a hand on the Summoner's shoulder and tells him that if he finds that Arakko has fallen then he is to return quickly. 'So that you might save any survivors? Rescue any enslaved?' Summoner asks. 'That... and have my long-awaited revenge' Apocalypse responds.

The Summoner takes Apocalypse's hand and tells his grandfather that he can feel it, that this is the beginning of a new age. 'And when you see me again... I will greet you in the manner befitting not just a hero of Krakoa... but as the father – and true heir – of Arakko' the Summoner promises as he follows Banshee and Unus down a set of stairs into the crater, towards the External Gate. 'You have my word, Grandfather. This... I promise' Summoner calls back, while Apocalypse just frowns....

Characters Involved: 

Anole, Banshee, Loa, Rockslide, Unus the Untouchable




in flashback:






Death, Famine, Pestilence, War (all First Horsemen)

Summoner's father


High Council of Arakko

Summoners of Arakko

Summoners of Amenth

Daemons of Amenth

One Hundred Champions

White Sword


Story Notes: 

This issue acts as a prelude to “X of Swords”.

This issue contains a one page update on the Summoners of Amenth.

Written By: