X-Men (5th series) #3

Issue Date: 
February 2020
Story Title: 

Jonathan Hickman (writer), Lenil Franics Yu (artist), Gerry Alanguilan & Lenil Francis Yu (inkers), Sunny Gho & Rain Beredo (colorists), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller (designer), Lenil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho (cover artists), Axel Ross; Mike Moss & Rachelle Rosenberg (variant cover artists), Annalise Bissa (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby


Brief Description: 

Four elderly woman known collectively as Hordeculture arrive are able to take control of the Krakoan teleportation portals, and use one to travel to the flower fields of the Savage Land, where they spray Pixie and Anole with a strange gunk that traps them. The Quiet Council gather on Krakoa, and after Jean Grey and Emma Frost throw some shade at each other, the Council discusses how Krakoa's portals have been taken advantage of and  the portal to the Savage Land is now offline. In the Savage Land, the four elderly woman spend some time chatting with each other, before setting about to pick some Krakoan flowers. Cyclops, Emma and Sebastian Shaw use a portal that takes them to the Australian Outback, where they find Gateway, and use him to transport them to the Savage Land. They are surprised to discover the old women are the cause of their current problems, and Emma is particularly displeased with the comments the old women throw at her. Sebastian Shaw speaks to the women and tries to convince them that he can make some trade arrangement between them at the Hellfire Trading Company, but the women are not interested, and use their gunk weapon against him, before they stomp on him. Cyclops blasts the women, knocking them back from Shaw, and after the women spray Cyclops with the gunk, they reveal their history to Emma Frost, who learns that they are all botanists, experts inb their field who were frustrated with men making decisions about the world, so they took matters into their own hands, and plan to restore the planet to a much more viable population – wanting to reduce it to about one billion people. The arrival of the Krakoan wildlife has thrown their plans into a slight disarray, and they want to study the new fauna of Krakoa. They leave through the portal with some Krakoan flowers, and afterwards, back on Krakoa, Emma informs Apocalypse, Magneto and Mystique that they have a new problem.

Full Summary: 

The Savage Land, specifically the Kroakoan Harvest Center, at Field Eight, where several mutants can be seen amongst the field, while Anole and Pixie are supervising them. Suddenly, the gateway to Krakoa makes a strange popping noise. 'That's weird' Anole remarks. 'Yeah, what's wrong with the gate?' Pixie asks, when suddenly, four masked beings in strange armor and carrying an assortment of weapons, one of them inside some sort of hover-chair.

'Is this Kansas?' one of them asks. 'Doesn't look like Kansas. And I would know – I got into trouble in Kansas once'.

Pixie looks at the new arrivals and informs them that this isn't Kansas – it is Krakoa, and that they are in the Savage Land. 'We grow flowers here' Pixie reveals. Anole frowns and tells the quartet that he doesn't recognize them, and asks 'You mutants new to the island?' The new arrival with a large beak-like mask replies 'New? Yes. Mutant? Bad news on the boulevard, kids' and suddenly, two of them fire their weapons at the young mutants, covering them in a green gunk that renders them immobile. 'Wh-why?' Pixie utters, frozen in place. 'Why? That's obvious, isn't it, dear? We just love the s-word out of flowers' another of them replies.

On Krakoa proper, meanwhile, Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops and Emma Frost the White Queen walk down a staircase to the meeting chamber of the Quiet Council. Waiting  for them are Magneto, who stands in the middle of the chamber, Jean Grey who stands on her own, away from the others, while Mr Sinister chats with Exodus. Apocalypse stands on his own, too, as Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm approaches Sebastian Shaw and Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler. 'All right. We're here. What's gone wrong now?' Emma declares. Magneto tells her that it is something truly unexpected, and asks her to have a seat. Cyclops goes over to Jean and tells her that he knows the look she is giving, and that he smells smoke. 'Should I assume fire?' Cyclops asks. Emma watches Scott and Emma as Jean informs him that the Council is going to send him out, as they can't  access the Savage Land, meaning something is wrong with Krakoa.

Cyclops tells everyone that it is a good thing he has been well trained in righting wrongs, and tells the Council not to worry, that he will take care of it.

Jean looks at Emma and tells her that it was nice of her to show up. 'In with the wind. Not a hair out of place' Emma replies, turning to Jean, who narrows her eyes and replies 'Gotta tell you...I love those shoes'. Emma thanks Jean, and tells her that she would let her borrow them – but she thinks they are a couple sizes too small. 'That's so kind of you. But I'm not big on borrowing things. That's really more of a you kind of thing, isn't it?' Jean responds. Emma laughs, and admits that she deserved that, before asking Jean if she wants to get a drink later. 'Sure. You're paying' Jean agrees. 'I always do' Emma tells her as she takes her seat next to Sebastian Shaw.

Jean sits with Storm and Nightcrawler, while Magneto and Apocalypse are seated together, and Mystique, Sinister and Exodus take the other seats. Cyclops stands in the middle of the conference seating arrangement as Emma exclaims 'All right. Now that we're all here... someone want to explain why I have this headache?'

Back in the Savage Land; 'That's the last of two. Not much fight in them' the being with the beaked mask declares, standing over several mutants who have been immobilized by the green gunk. 'I think these might've been the peaceful mutants... their flower children' one of the others suggests. 'All I see is soft. Soft. Soft' the one in the beaked mask replies. 'Given that, I woulda thought the mutants woulda had slightly more spirited security' they add. Suddenly, the one in the hover-chair goes wide-eyed and asks 'What? No. I don't get social security'. The one in the beaked mask suddenly removes their mask, revealing an elderly woman with gray hair, who calls out 'I said spir-i-ted security, Edith. Not so-cial security'. She tells Edith to take her mask off, pointing out that she can't hear worth a damn with it on. A woman with a breathing tube connected to her nose removes her mask and calls the gray-haired woman Augusta. 'Won't make much difference, Augusta. She can't hear worth a d-word with it off, either'.

Edith, the old woman in the hover-chair, has removed her mask, revealing curly white hair underneath, she calls the woman with dark hair and the tube in her nose Opal and snaps 'You can d-word my b-word! B-word all the way to the store and back. For your smokies'. The fourth woman is an Asian woman who stands near Opal and declares 'No. No more smokies. The doctor was very clear on our last visit. He could see the signs, and the signs were very clear – Opal is off the tobacco'. Opal mutters that she is chewing that gum now – and she doesn't care much for it, before telling Edith that she doesn't know why she had to bring that up. Lily suggests that she did it because Edith doesn't have a nice bone in her bony little body. 'And we know you get social security, Edith. You used your last check to upfit the Green Thumb. You know the good Lord hears you lying'.

From her hover-chair, Edith shouts 'I ain't lying, Lily' before remarking that as you can only claim one person's benefits, and since her Walter had paid in more, his social security checks were bigger, so she gets his, and not hers. 'There's a difference, and I'm thankful for it. Good ol' Walter – the man did many things right'. Edith tells the other women. 'He left you for a younger woman, Edith!' Augusta reminds her, to which Edith remarks that Walter died in a car crash before he filed their divorce papers – and left that strumpet with nothing but a bill for the funeral. Edith smiles as she reminds the others that she wore yellow to the funeral, that she sat in the front row and laughed her a-word off. 'A-word means ass, Opal' Edith adds. 'So chew on that, ladies... and while you do... shall we pick some flowers?' Edith suggests, as the four elderly woman look out over the strange flowers  that flourish around them.

The Australian Outback, where a Krakoan portal sticks up out of the barren, orange landscape. 'Exactly how's this work?' Emma asks as she, Cyclops and Sebastian step through the portal. Cyclops explains that they can still access any of the other gateways, just not the specific gateway to the Savage Land, as not only is it not functioning properly, but the longer it is malfunctioning, the more Krakoa seems to be in pain. 'Five minutes into that Council meeting and Jean, Paris and I were ready to crawl out of our skin' Emma adds, climbing down the side of a rockface, Emma remarks that she wished they had young Douglas around to translate. 'Right. Again, my fault' Cyclops remarks, adding that they are going to have to figure something out, or Cypher is never going to get a vacation again.

Sebastian suddenly speaks up and asks if he dares inquire as to how traveling to Australia is getting them closer to the Savage Land. Cyclops points out that it is actually closer, but they need a quick way there, and Magik is off-planet, too. 'So we're going to catch another ride' Cyclops explains as he points at the Aboriginal mutant known as Gateway, who hovers above some rocks.

Shortly, a portal opens in the Savage Land thanks to the teleportation powers of Gateway. Cyclops, Emma and Shaw step through the portal, and their arrival is noticed by the elderly women, who are picking the strange Krakoan flowers and placing them in large sacks. 'More company. How delightful' Lily remarks. Emma tilts her head to one side as she looks at the elderly women. 'We've been invaded by octogenarians. That's... unexpected' she tells Cyclops and Shaw. Cyclops tells the women that they have caused a bit of a ruckus, and people are upset. 'Mind introducing yourselves?' he asks. Augusta smells a pink flower and introduces the women as Hordeculture. 'Whoredeculture?' Shaw frowns. 'No. Hordeculture' Lily asserts. 'No one wants to hear about all that whoring around in Kansas Augusta did' Lily adds.

Augusta explains that she liked married men and taking all their things, adding that it is not her fault that sometimes they all die in car crashes. 'Speaking of unsavory women... this one looks like a tart' Lily announces, looking at Emma. 'Uh-huh. She dresses like an s-word with a serious p-word problem' Opal remarks. 'You need to wash yourself, girl' Opal adds. Emma is shocked – her jaw drops, while Cyclops turns away from her, and Shaw covers his face to stifle his smile. 'I won't fight old women' Emma states as she composes herself, while telepathically informing Cyclops and Shaw that the minds of the old women are shielded somehow. Emma then turns to Cyclops and asks him to hit these... ladies... harder than he normally would, that would only make her love him more.

Shaw clears his throat and steps between Emma and Cyclops, 'If you don't mind. Allow me'. He addresses the women as the good women of Hordeculture and introduces himself as the Black King of the Hellfire Trading Company – who happen to be the rights holders of the product they so clearly plan on absconding with.

Emma and Cyclops stand several feet away, while Gateway hovers further back from them as Shaw tells the old women that he is not a prude, nor is he an impractical man. 'And – between us girls – over the years, I too have been known to purloin precious items – like those flowers you hold in your hand and even flowers such as yourselves – for my own quite selfish and otherwise loin-related reasons' Shaw tells them, adding 'For we are all self-serving'. Augusta listen as Shaw tells the old women that surely, in the spirit of personal enrichment and the acquisition of all the things they desire, they can come to some sort of agreement – they get what they want, some of their product, without the stigma of theft. 'And we would get what we want, which is an understanding of how you have compromised what we believed to be a closed system of transit' Shaw adds.

Shaw tells the women that there is the complication of “Can we trust one another” - especially when the formation of their blooming relationship has begun thusly – but he believes they can find some solid footing in an agreement regarding their natures. Shaw smiles as he tells the women that they are thieves and that they can be trusted to covet that which they do not own, and that he is a devourer of both men and women – a carnivore – but fortunately for them, he prefers his steaks a little less seasoned. 'So... why don't we make a deal. What say you?' Shaw asks.

The response from one of the old women comes in the form of a blast to Shaw's face at close range with the green gunk. Shaw drops to his knees, and as Opal smacks the back of Shaw's head with the end of a gun, Edith tells Lily to hit him with the gas. 'Already done, Edith' Lily responds, and as Shaw falls into the fetal position, Lily declares that whatever powers this creep has are neutralized. 'You hear that? No deal, creep! No deal!' Lily exclaims.

Shaw reaches up as the old women stand around him – but before any of them can add to his injuries, Lily, Opal and Augusta are blasted away by a powerful optic beam that Cyclops unleashes upon them. 'Please step away from the aristocrat. I know he's an insufferable boor, and normally I'd let you ladies work... but he's our insufferable boor' Cyclops announces, before blasting Edith's hover-chair. '... now I have to work' Cyclops remarks, as the blast ricochets off the hover-chair and strikes Opal. Cyclops is suddenly struck in the back by one of the old women – so Cyclops spins around, and releases an optic blast that swipes the other old women out, knocking them to the flower-covered ground.

'Are we done now?' Cyclops asks, clenching his fists. 'Oh God. Oh Lord' Augusta utters, while grabbing her side. 'Dammit' Cyclops mutters, before going over to her and asking her if she is okay. 'My hip. You broke my hip' Augusta announces. Cyclops tells Augusta to hold still, but as he kneels beside her, August blasts him with the green gunk, striking Cyclops in his face and knocking him over. 'Stupid boy! We do water aerobics and yoga four days a week at the YMCA' Lily declares as she kicks Cyclops, knocking him over. Augusta then smacks Cyclops in the face and informs him that their instructor's name is Sven, that he is from Sweden and is in better shape than Cyclops is.

Suddenly, 'Enough!' Emma shouts, and the old women turn to her, as she stands before them in her diamond-hard form. 'What is wrong with all of you?' Emma asks. 'Well... you are, girly. You mutants are screwing up our plan' Augusta announces.

Augusta continues, stating that even though they are human, Hordeculture, like mutants, have a problem with what mankind has done to this planet. She reveals that all of them are radical botanists, gardeners with the gift of the green thumb, who are committed to returning this world to its proper state, and so the four of them have collectively spent more than two hundred years working for the world's best argochemical and biotech companies. She asks Cyclops if he has any idea what is going on inside some of these places – it is offensive. 'They sold us on feeding the world, but what they were really doing was using our gifts to create seedless slave plants that could no longer reproduce' Augusta explains. 'They replaced God's perfect cycle of death and rebirth with just death so they can sell more product each year in the name of wealth and consumption'.

Augusta reveals that after a while, they figured out what to do with their fellow scientists - and they knew what to do with these evil institutions. In one instance, they placed the body of a dead man under a bed of flowers, feeding the yellow flowers. Augusta states that for the last two years, they have very carefully sown the Hordeculture seed in with theirs, and in ten years, they will control all of the world's food supply. She boasts that they will decide what grows and what does not – they will decide who eats and who starves. Augusta looks at a Krakoan flower and admits that they are still arguing about that – as Opal says the future should belong to the children, while Lily has never cared much for kids, and Edith says they should all be killed. August informs Cyclops that she goes back and forth, but regardless, what they are sure of is that when they activate the Hordeculture seed, this world will return to its natural state.

'An Earth with seven billion fewer people on it. At least, that was our plan.... But then you showed up with your living island – an expansive biome beyond our current understanding – that could very well circumvent their plans. As Lily, Edith and Opal depart through the Krakoan gateway, Augusta states that the good news is that good ol' human ingenuity is alive

and well, and it didn't take them too long to hack it. She reveals that anytime they like, they can interrupt the normal functions and take control of their method of transit, which is a boon for them. As she starts to put on her beaked mask, Augusta tells Emma that remapping the portals adaptive mutant genome has proven to be elusive – so they needed more samples than what they could get from a gateway – and now they have them.

Augusta informs Emma that they will work to see what makes Krakoa tick, and they will either convince it to support their good works, or find a way to bend it to their will – and if they can do neither, then they will find a way to pluck it like the weed it is. 'You can bet your a-word on that' she warns Emma, who does not respond. When the portal closes, Emma turns to Gateway and tells him 'Just so you know, Gateway... you were a lot of help'.

Later, on Krakoa, Emma and Shaw meet with Apocalypse, Mystique and Magneto, as Emma informs them that they have a bit of a problem.

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magneto, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler, Storm

Apocalypse, Exodus, Mystique, Sebastian Shaw, Mr Sinister

Anole, Pixie III



Augusta Bromes, Lily Leymus, Edith Scutch, Opal Vetiver (all Hordeculture)


Unidentified mutants


in flashback panels:

Augusta Bromes, Lily Leymus, Edith Scutch, Opal Vetiver

Unnamed scientists


Story Notes: 

First appearance of Hordeculture.

This issue contains a text page outlining the issues with the Savage Land portal.

Cypher and Magik are off-planet, since New Mutants (4th series) #1.

This issue also contains a text page giving some further information on Hordeculture, including the full names of the old women, their ages, areas of expertise, and explains that Edith's hover-chair is also the Green Thumb, their mobile base of operations.

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