X-Men (6th series) #3

Issue Date: 
November 2021
Story Title: 
Fearless, chapter three: “Problematic Fan”

Gerry Duggan (writer), Pepe Larraz (artist), Marte Gracia (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer & production), Tom Muller (designer), Pepe Larraz &Marte Gracia (cover artists), Terry Dodson & Rachel Dodson (variant cover artists), Russell Dauterman & Matthew Wilson (trading card variant cover artists), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Annalise Bissa (associate editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

The X-Men are in Vietnam, where the High Evolutionary has arrived, along with his daughter, Luminous and several of his mutated New-Men. The High Evolutionary congratulates the X-Men on the birth of Arakko, and claims he has come as a friend to commemorate this occasion. Luminous produces a Nihility Sphere, which each of her father's ships carries, and offers one to the X-Men. Rogue, who has previous dealings with Luminous, tells her that they aren't interested. The High Evolutionary talks about how humanity is causing the end of the Anthropocene era on Earth, and the Nihility Sphere will assist in making the last days of humanity pleasant – if not, humanity will be sterilized within a generation, and the human problem will cease to be. Rogue's had enough of listening though and punches the High Evolutionary. Polaris joins in, knocking back Luminous, before the High Evolutionary's New Men attack the X-Men. Jean Grey is tasked with preventing the Nihility Sphere from being released, while the others battle the New Men. The battle goes on for some time, until Synch copies Luminous's powers and warns the High Evolutionary to call off his New Men. The High Evolutionary complies, and announces that he will also withdraw his gift to humanity – in return for Synch's blood. Laura Kinney isn't having that and steps between the High Evolutionary and Synch. However, Synch agrees, and lets Laura draw blood from his finger. The High Evolutionary takes the blood, and Jean Grey shows the High Evolutionary a telepathic image of Cordyceps Jones, asking him if Cordyceps is one of the dominoes which he mentioned Arakko caused to fall. The High Evolutionary explains that Cordyceps is a lower form of fungal life, and that he can be found on Gameworld. The High Evolutionary departs, and Synch asks Cyclops if he thinks he made a mistake in giving the High Evolutionary his blood, but Cyclops tells him he saved the highest amount of lives that he could. Synch worries his blood may come back to haunt them, before the local villagers invite the X-Men to eat with them. While most of the team eat and enjoy spending time with the locals, Cyclops and Jean Grey realize they need to split the team and send half of them into space to investigate Gameworld. Elsewhere, Henry Gyrich accompanies Feilong into a massive warehouse, where Feilong has been developing his rockets, and declares that he will have a seat at the Orchis table. On Coney Island, Ben Urich sits on a bench in the middle of the night as the rain pours down. The mysterious Dr Stasis arrives and tells Urich that the story he is working on is bigger than he thinks. He provides Urich with the autopsy report of Scott Summers. Stasis tells Urich that Cyclops was right – he is a very good writer, and that he looks forward to reading about mutant resurrection in the Daily Bugle.

Full Summary: 

Above Da Nang, Vietnam, where a large spaceship hovers above a bridge that is suspended above a forest by a large hand. On the bridge stand seven mutant heroes – heroes known as the X-Men. Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris, Laura Kinney a.k.a. Wolverine, Shiro Yoshida a.k.a. Sunfire, Everett Thomas a.k.a. Synch, Jean Grey, Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops and Rogue. They all look up at the strange spaceship above them, while a holo-message from Commander Abigail Brand of SWORD tells the X-Men that it is going to be one of those days. 'They came out of the sun – that's why we didn't catch them inbound' Brand explains, before asking the X-Men if they want reinforcement. 'We'll let you know, Brand' Jean Grey replies, while Cyclops points out that so far the Earth is still spinning. 'Ah gotta warn you – if this is who ah think it is, Sunfire's gonna have an easier time keeping cool than me' Rogue tells her teammates. 'He's never been subtle, has he?' Cyclops remarks. 'Sorry, uh, who exactly are we talking about here?' Polaris asks.

A door opens on the spaceship, and the “he” appears – the High Evolutionary. He is accompanied by a striking woman with white hair and several New Men, one of whom is some sort of reptile and hisses 'The High Evolutionary bidsss you greetingsss! He has witnesssed you!' The High Evolutionary states that the birth of Arakko is a great leap forward in mutant evolution – like cell replicating – what was one is now two. He claims that he comes in peace as a friend to mutandom to commemorate this momentous occasion. 'I dunno, boss. These guys vibe trouble' a monkey-like New Men grins. A rhino-like New Men instructs the mutants to bow their heads to honor the High Evolutionary's greatness. 'That's not on today's menu, friend. If Arakko is on your mind, you're on the wrong planet' Cyclops replies.

'Arakko is the achievement of this world, is it not? And its birth has caused dominoes to fall in places that are beyond your sight' the High Evolutionary remarks, before asking the X-Men to forgive him, admitting that he has been rude, the High Evolutionary introduces the X-Men to the woman at his side, calling her his daughter, Luminous, he tells the X-Men that, apart from Rogue, they have not met her before. Luminous announces that they bear a gift for mutantdom, and that each of her father's ship carries a nihility sphere. The sphere floats in front of Luminous. 'Looks cool, but what's it do?' Polaris asks. 'You can stop right there! Whatever it is – we don't want it!' Rogue shouts. The High Evolutionary states that the Anthropocene era has commenced on this world, that humanity is the primary engine of change on the climate. 'Their ecosystem is collapsing. Accept my gift, and the last days of humanity might even be...pleasant for them' the High Evolutionary claims. He smiles as he tells the X-Men to reject his gift, and the humans can starve as climate refugees in the decades to come. 'The virus within the spheres will sterilize humanity, and within a generation, your human problem will simply...cease to be'. He supposes that some of them might become posthuman, and that he can help them achieve their full potential. 'Like I helped you, Rogue. When I -' the High Evolutionary begins, before Rogue flies over and punches him hard in the face.

'You lousy bum!' Rogue calls out, before informing her teammates that the High Evolutionary kidnapped and tortured her, but the good news is, he can take a Hulk-level beating, so none of them needs to hold back. 'Does this one speak for you all?' Luminous enquires. 'When Rogue says not to hold back – the X-Men throw hands!' Polaris replies as she slams a chunk of metal into Luminous and the rhino-like New Man, knocking them both backwards. Luminous recovers and returns to her father's side as the High Evolutionary instructs her to be a dear and summon his Evolutionary Guard. An instant later, several more of the New Men burst through the side of the High Evolutionary's ship and lunge themselves towards the X-Men. 'For Counter-Earth!' a telepathic crab-like being calls out. A shark-like being chomps its mouth towards Synch while one who calls itself Bi-Son leaps towards Polaris and boasts that they return to Earth a god. A large elephant-like being introduces itself as Teslelephant shouts as it recalls Earth's mistreatment of elephants – and Tesla. 'The X-Men love elephants!' Cyclops assures Teslelephant as he falls backwards, and Wolverine calls out to her teammate when she sees him in trouble.

But Cyclops recovers and fires an optic blast at another of the New-Men while communicating with Rogue and Polaris, he instructs them to stay on Luminous, as she has the powers of both the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. 'So work together – and work fast' he adds. As Wolverine takes down an ape-like New Man and one that resembles a crocodile, Cyclops reports that he and Wolverine will flank the bomb, before asking Jean what she needs. Jean has the nihility sphere in a telekinetic field as she informs Cyclops that the High Evolutionary's mind is psi-shielded, but that they can assume he is telling the truth. She adds that he certainly has the technical ability, and that if the virus hits the air, they need a plan. Synch and Sunfire fly nearby, with Synch reporting that he is synched to Sunfire, so if the virus hits the wind, they can burn it out of the air. Sunfire then adds 'If we can move people away' before stating that he and Synch are engaging.

Sunfire and Synch then unleash a powerful flare of flaming energy at the High Evolutionary, who screams as the flames engulf him – but he's only momentarily distracted as he tells the X-Men that he admires their ambition: 'You claim one planet, and not long after, you take another. I like that'. He then grabs Sunfire by his throat and asks 'Now show me you're worthy of my help'. The High Evolutionary grins as he adds that he thought Rogue's ability to mimic mutant powers was impressive, but tells Sunfire that he is more powerful by no small magnitude as he tosses him aside, causing Sunfire to plummet towards the forest below. 'SUNFIRE!' Synch calls out as he flies after his teammate, eventually reaching him, he grabs Sunfire before he falls into the forest, then projects his thoughts to his teammates, informing them that he and Shiro are not doing so hot, and asks everyone else how they  are doing.

'Eh, hanging in' Cyclops replies as he fires a powerful optic blast. Wolverine shoves her claws into one of the New Men as she warns Jean that she has incoming. 'Tsk. Let  it go, woman. You're just prolonging their suffering. And why? So you can enjoy these performative displays of “saving” them?' Luminous asks as she flies towards Jean, who is still preventing the nihility sphere from detonating. Before Luminous can reach Jean though, Polaris traps her in a magnetic bubble. 'Shush. It's time for some Earth science. Let's talk about magnetism. I can -' Polaris begins, before Luminous frees herself from the magnetic bubble. 'Wait – what's happening?' Polaris asks. 'I am happening. Lorna Dane. Daughter of the great Magneto – I thought you would be more' Luminous declares as slaps Lorna hard in the face, causing her to fall backwards, where she slams into Rogue.

'We have the Omega mutant trapped!' one of the New Men calls out as several of them surround Jean, who is protected by a telekinetic force field. Jean telepathically informs Cyclops that she is okay here as long as he can keep the High Evolutionary and Luminous back, before asking him if he thinks they need the other War Captains. 'Guys – I grabbed 'em!' Synch calls out as he hovers mid-air carrying Sunfire – just as Luminous speeds past him, telling him 'You've saved one of your friends – now watch as I take all the rest down!' as she slams into Wolverine, knocking her backwards. Suddenly though, 'Nah – I was talking about grabbing your powers' Synch explains as he speeds up to Luminous and slams a fist into her, knocking her out as he stands over her, glowing with the energies he has synched from her.  'Pack this up, High Evolutionary – or you face the X-Men – and your greatest weapon!' Synch warns the villain.

The High Evolutionary responds by pressing his hands together and telling Synch 'Well done'. Furious, Synch warns the High Evolutionary that this is not an empty threat. 'Call off your attack. I can do what Luminous does – and I won't be afraid to do what must be done!' Synch exclaims. The High Evolutionary hovers towards Synch and points out that he can simply nullify his gifts to Luminous – and Synch's theft of them. He does so, and Synch looks at his hands, which no longer glow with energy, while the High Evolutionary assures him that he will not punish him harshly. The High Evolutionary then instructs the Evolutionary Guard to stand down.

One of the New Men, a large gorilla-like being who has trapped Cyclops in a headlock looks over, while another holds a rock above Cyclops. Cyclops tells them that this is their lucky day, as he had them right where he wanted them. The High Evolutionary points at the X-Men as he tells them that he will withdraw his gift and that humanity will simply have to suffer. He adds that he will forgive the aggression visited upon his hosts, in return for Synch's blood. 'You can have all the blood you want – when you're standing over my dead body!' Wolverine snarls as she pops his claws and steps in front of Synch. Synch looks up at Wolverine and tells her to wait. 'If it will end this...then he gets one drop of blood' Synch declares, putting his hands on Laura's clawed fists. Laura retracts her claws, and she and Synch clasp hands. Synch looks awa from Laura, before glancing at her as she pops one of her claws across the top of one of his fingers. A single drop of blood drops, and Synch flicks the blood towards the High Evolutionary, telling him to go.

The blood lands on the palm of the High Evolutionary's hand. 'You stole fire from the gods and lived to tell about it, Synch' the High Evolutionary remarks, before Jean Grey and Rogue drop down in front of the High Evolutionary, near where Cyclops, Sunfire and Polaris have gathered next to Synch and Wolverine. Jean tells the High Evolutionary to wait, and reminds him that earlier he said that Arakko caused some dominoes to fall. 'Indeed, I did' the High Evolutionary responds. Jean projects an image of a strange, horrible creature and asks 'Is one of them this...thing?' Luminous steps to her father's side, energies ready, although the High Evolutionary motions for her to stand down. He informs Jean that the “thing” is Cordyceps Jones, a lower form of fungal life, one he would usually eradicate, but this one amuses him. 'You can find him on gameworld' the High Evolutionary adds as he, Luminous and the New Men begin to levitate upwards towards the High Evolutionary's ship. Rogue looks up and watches them leave, telling Polaris that she hates that Luminous beat them. 'We'll get the last lick – watch this' Polaris grins, before she shouts to Luminous: 'Hey, sugar! Didja know your old man had a kill switch for your powers?' This startles Luminous, who frowns as she continues upwards to the ship.

'Ha! You see that B's face?' Polaris exclaims with flee, pointing up at the High Evolutionary's ship. Synch looks over at Cyclops and asks him if he thinks he made a mistake. 'No. you saved the most amount of lives you could in one swing' Cyclops replies. 'And that's the job' Jean smiles. Synch asks what will happen if his blood comes back to haunt them, to which Cyclops laughs: 'First time with the High Evolutionary, huh?' he asks, before assuring Synch that today will blow back on them, but he shouldn't worry, for when it does, the X-Men will win then, too. Several local villagers begin to gather around, and in their native Vietnamese, one of them exclaims 'Thank you so much! We love the Avengers!' An elderly woman smiles at Rogue and asks her to stay and wat with them. 'We would love to' Rogue smiles back.

Shortly, inside a home, the rain pours down outside, while inside, Polaris takes a selfie with some children. Rogue and Synch can be seen pulling faces at the back of the shot. Sunfire watches them while he eats, and Wolverine smiles as an old woman brings her some more food. Cyclops and Jean are sitting on the front steps of the house, where Jean telepathically informs Cyclops that the Evolutionary lowered his defenses and showed her Gameworld, as he was there recently. 'He did also try to wipe out all of humanity, but that was a stretch goal' Jean adds. Cyclops tells Jean that he doesn't trust the Evolutionary, but admits it is easy to believe him when he says that the Mind Reaver and Annihilation Wave were both blowback for Arakko. Jean points out that they may need to split the team for a little while – as they have a name and place now. 'Very well. The noble game to see who goes?' Cyclops replies. 'Three...two...one' Jean begins, before Cyclops projects an image of scissors and Jean of a rock. 'Are you sure you're not peeking when we do this?' Cyclops asks. 'What? How dare you even ask' Jean responds as the rain continues to beat down around them.

Elsewhere, 'I'll be blunt, Feilong. We would like for you to continue to Mars' Henry Gyrich tells Feilong as they enter a large warehouse. 'And...just who is “we,” Mr Gyrich?' Feilong asks. 'Is Orchis such a secret that you will not say its name?' Feilong enquires. Gyrich realizes that he should have known Feilong would know all about him. 'We need skin in the game. Human skin. Up on Mars. We need a foothold' Gyrich explains. 'You think you know what you need. Do you think me a fool? You would love a famous human corpse to drape in front of Earth' Feilong smiles. 'If that's a “no,” why are you still fuelling your rocket fleet?' Gyrich asks, looking up at several massive rockets which are stationed inside the large warehouse. Feilong tells Gyrich it is because he is thinking too small. 'If I survive the experience, I will have a seat at the Orchis table, and if I fall... then you shall have your martyr'.

Meanwhile, on Coney Island, rain pours down through the dark night, as a man sits with an umbrella over him on a bench near the fairground. Someone in a wide-brimmed hat and dark jacket approaches him. 'You're late. The X-Men have a lot of enemies, Mr Stasis. Whatever ax you have to grind with them, if it's not in the public interest to know, it's none of my business' the man with the umbrella calls out. The man in the hat replies 'It's Doctor, Mr Urich, and I think you mistake me for the common rabble that enjoys donnybrooks with the X-Men'. Ben looks up from under his umbrella as Doctor Stasis boasts that he is a bird of a different feather, and that they have but one life to live. 'Back when the US government loaned the services of a Super-Soldier to the Kingpin – what did you do?' Doctor Stasis asks. 'I told the truth' Ben replies.

'Tell it again' Doctor Stasis asks, handing Ben an envelope. 'You've already got the story, it's just bigger than you think' Doctor Stasis adds. 'My god...' Ben gasps as he opens the envelope and looks at what is inside. Photos – of Cyclops – dead – and a copy of the autopsy report. 'You'll notice the date of the autopsy is not that long ago' Doctor Stasis remarks, before revealing that he observed Ben at the Treehouse with Scott Summers just a few days ago. Doctor Stasis turns and starts to walk away, while telling Ben that Cylcops was right: 'You are a very good writer'. Ben lets the rain fall on him as he drops his umbrella, and frowns as Doctor Stasis tells him that he looks forward to reading about mutant resurrection in the Daily Bugle.

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Polaris, Rogue, Sunfire, Synch, Wolverine III (all X-Men)

Commander Abigail Brand


High Evolutionary


Bi-Son, Teslelephant and other New Men


Ben Urich


Henry Gyrich

Doctor Stasis




Story Notes: 

Luminous previously appeared in Uncanny Avengers (2nd series) #2-5.

Rogue was a member of the Avengers Unity Squad that fought the High Evolutionary and Luminous in Avengers (2nd series) #1-5.

This issue includes a telepathic conversation between Jean Grey and the High Evolutionary in which they discuss coming conflict, Cordyceps Jones and that the High Evolutionary believes Jean will things his way eventually.

Ben Urich visited Cyclops at the Treehouse in X-Men (6th series) #1.

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