X-Men: Blue #24

Issue Date: 
May 2018
Story Title: 
Cry Havok, part 2

Cullen Bunn (writer), Jorge Molina (artist), Matt Milla & Jay David Ramos (colorists), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Caramagna (letterer) Jorge Molina (cover artist), Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers),  Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Darren Shan (editor), Mark Paniccia (X-Men group 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: 

At the Hellfire Club, Shaw demonstrates his newfound secondary mutation caused by Mothervine, enabling him to absorb ambient energy. He fights Magneto, until something happens to his newfound power – it starts to absorb  the energy from his own cells. Shaw withers, and pleads for help from Magneto. Magneto isn't going to kill Shaw yet, and demands a meeting with Shaw's masters. In the Mojave Desert, Toad and the New Marauders try to convince Shen Xorn to join them, but he isn't interested. When Mach-II cracks open Xorn's helmet, Jimmy Hudson and Bloodstorm reveal their presence and a battle ensues. Mach-II tells Jimmy that Miss Sinister could have helped him, but he isn't interested. Bloodstorm distracts their foes with a swarm of bats, enabling her, Jimmy and Xorn to escape and get Xorn some help. At the X-Mansion in Madripoor, Polaris has been possessed by Malice from an alternate reality. She confronts the Raksha and kills most of them, until Polaris confronts Malice within her own mind, and seemingly destroys her, freeing herself. In Spain, Briar Raleigh finds Daken in a nightclub, and gives him some adamantium swords, telling him that Magneto procured the swords for him, and that she can't wait to see what he does with weapons like those. Magneto meets with Havok, Emma Frost, Miss Sinister and Bastion in Scotland, and tells them that their Mothervine is trouble, showing them what has happened to Shaw. Havok explains that it is simply a setback, and that growing pains are expected. Havok tells Magneto that he is going to want to be part of Mothervine, and that once he fully understands what they are doing, he won't dare refuse to join them.

Full Summary: 

London, England, the Hellfire Club, where Sebastian Shaw tells Magneto to ask himself why he stands against them, as Mothervine will give him everything he has ever wanted – mutants will inherit the world – they will no longer be hated, no longer oppressed – no longer hunted. Magneto throws a magnetic force field around himself as Shaw uses his secondary mutation to try and break through and strike Magneto. 'Shaw... this power of yours... there will be a price to pay!' Magneto warns. Shaw grins and tells Magneto that this is what he has fought for, unless, of course, it's only the fight that matters. 'Are you so consumed by your own hubris that you don't know what you'd do if you actually won?' Shaw enquires. He tells Magneto not to worry, as he won't live long enough  to see the ascension of mutantkind.

Shaw's power knocks Magneto back through the room, blasting him out into the ballroom where Hellfire Club patrons are enjoying themselves. 'The... the rules!' one of the patrons exclaims. 'Fighting in the club!' another gasps. 'We must leave at once!' a woman exclaims, asking where her jacket is. 'Where's my bullwhip?' a man enquires.

Shaw walks towards Magneto, who tries to get to his feet. 'Now, I absorb the energy of your magnetic waves as easily as I once absorbed a physical blow' Shaw explains. He boasts that the slightest motion, a rapidly drawn breath, the shuffling of feet, dust motes swirling in the air – it is all nothing but raw kinetic energy for him to use at his whim.

Meanwhile, in the Mojave Desert, Shen Xorn announces that he only wishes to be left in peace. Mach-II of the reality-displaced New Marauders informs Xorn that she and her teammates, the Guardian and Armor, along with Toad, have been sent to recruit him. She claims that there are big changes on the horizon, changers that will rub a good many people the wrong way. She adds that humans aren't going to give up their spot on the food chain without a  fight. Toad suggests to Xorn that he listen to Mach 2, as this is the big time, what he always wanted. 'Then I would suggest that this course of action – if it inevitably leads to war – is unwise' Xorn tells Mach-II. Toad's tongue flickers, flames dart about the end of it as he boasts that the people begin the curtain are the real deal – even the White Queen is with them. 'I know you've got a little bad blood with her... but can't you put that aside for the sake of mutant supremacy?' Toad asks. 'I'm sorry... but who do you think I am?' Xorn asks.

Mach-II smiles and tells him that it doesn't matter who he is, the only thing that that matters is the choice he makes right now. She warns him that if he doesn't come with them, then he is going to die out here in the desert. Xorn fires a blast of energy from his face, knocking Toad and the new Marauders backwards. 'I think not' he tells them. Toad asks Xorn not to do this. 'I don't want to see you die, but I'm not calling the shots!' Toad calls out as he wraps his flaming tongue around Xorn's neck – but Xorn blasts Toad away with ease. 'For  the record, you started this fight, not us. You threw the first punch!' Mach-II declares, warning Xorn that he is going to get his skull cracked for his troubles. She raises her hand, and Xorn notices something happening with his helmet. 'What are you doing? My helmet – no! If you compromise it -' he begins, before a surge of lightning blasts down between Xorn and Mach-II.

'All of you – back off!' Jimmy Hudson calls out as he makes his presence known, leaping towards the troubling scene. 'Jimmy Hudson – the one who got away! I knew we'd meet up again sooner or later' Mach-II remarks as an energy field comes up around her, protecting her from Jimmy's claws which he reaches out with. 'I'm so glad, too. Miss Sinister may have cast you aside, but I'm far from done with you' Mach-II warns him. Bloodstorm drops down to the Guardian and tells him that the X-Men told her about him – he doesn't belong in this world. 'You're one to talk, Bloodstorm! You're the vampire from another reality!' the Guardian declares. Armor comes up behind Jimmy, who glances at her out of the corner of his eyes. Mach-II tells Jimmy that he shouldn't have run off the way he did, and reveals that Miss Sinister has helped them with their memories. 'She could have helped you understand where you came from... and the destiny awaiting you... if you hadn't been so pig-headed'.

Xorn's helmet is cracked, it takes all of his concentration to keep the forces contained. He knows that he musn't lose control, not again. Suddenly, dozens of bats materialize around Bloodstorm, they fly towards the Guardian, screeching, they slam into him, before attacking Armor and Mach-II, who asks 'Where the hell did these bats come from?' while Bloodstorm swoops down and grabs Jimmy and Xorn, lifting them to safety. 'Thanks for the lift!' Jimmy tells Bloodstorm, who remarks that now is not the time to fight, they need to regroup and get their new friend some assistance – then they will meet these Marauders again.

Meantime, in Madripoor, at the X-Mansion, Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris has been possessed by Malice. The unmoving robot Ferris lies at her feet. 'I must say this is a surprise. Miss Sinister sent me home with the X-Men... hoping I'd have the chance to possess Jean Grey. For a kid, she proved far more resistant to my charms than I expected. But you, Polaris...you'll do quite nicely' Malice exclaims, realizing that Polaris has met a version of Malice, from this world. 'I don't believe that in my universe I ever had the pleasure. But susceptibility is susceptibility. Now... let's do here what I came to do... and raise a little hell' Malice declares.

In a living room, the local heroes called the Raksha are sitting around. 'Do you feel that? A slight shift in the pressure of -' Gazing Nightshade begins when suddenly, the door to the living room is blasted open, as Malice enters. 'The Raksha have been betrayed, Hexadecimal. The daughter of Magneto -' Whisper Doll begins, grabbing a sword. Hexadecimal creates a robot scorpion and tells Whisper Doll that they should have expected this – and that he never trusted the X-Men the way the others did, as they work with Magneto – one of Patch's greatest foes! 'Looks like the X-Men aren't home right now. But they've left me some playthings to entertain me. And isn't  it cute – metal weapons!' Malice declares as she uses Polaris' control over metal to take hold of dozens of swords and knives, and dangle them before Hexadecimal and Whisper Doll – before cutting them to shreds with the weapons.

Gazing Nightshade removes the bandages from her eyes and calls out to Polaris: 'I don't know why you have attacked us! But I know a crushing burden weighs upon your spirit!' Gazing Nightshade tells her. Blood begins to drip from her empty eye sockets, as she tells Polaris that through her gaze, her remorse and sorrow, her regret and self-doubt become unbearable. 'I am sorry that I must inflict such misery upon you' Gazing Nightshade tells her. But Polaris / Malice grins and tells Gazing Nightshade that she is barking up the wrong mutant, as she no longer feels regret or self-pity or sadness. 'I feel only – MALICE!' she screams as she releases beams of magnetic energy up into the room.

'Cease your struggling... it serves no purpose, Erik' Shaw declares as he grabs Magneto by his throat, while cutlery is magnetically suspended in the air around them. Shaw lifts Magneto up by his neck and boasts that through Mothervine, he has been blessed, that he is stronger than ever before, adding that he is what all mutants can become. 'All that newly acquired power... what is the cost?' Magneto asks, blood tricking from his mouth. 'It's you, Erik! You are my offering to Mothervine! You are my sacrifice!' Shaw shouts as he knocks Magneto across the room, where he slams into a column, breaking it in two. Shaw speds over to Magneto, 'Enough! I've toyed with you long enough! Goodbye, Erik!' Shaw calls out. Magneto raises a hand, energy crackles, but Shaw just grits his teeth and asks 'Really? You're still trying to hold me back? You know I'll only absorb your energies and turn them back against you' Shaw calls out.

Shaw grins and tells Magneto that he admires his tenacity, but that it is a wasted effort. 'You would have been better served using these last few second of your life – to make peace with God!' Shaw exclaims before his energy-charged hand slams into Magneto's face at full-speed. Shaw holds Magneto by his sweater and tells him that if he is determined to struggle against the inevitable, why should he rush to end him? 'You deserve to suffer, Magneto. You deserve to suffer for how you've lied to -' Shaw begins, before he looks at his energy-charged hand, something is happening to him. 'No! No no no! What is this? What is happening?' he asks. He clutches his hand, and tells Magneto that he can feel it – his powers draining, absorbing kinetic energy from his own cells.

Shaw's form begins to wither and look hollow as he drops to his knees. Magneto stands up and wipes his mouth: 'This, Sebastian – this is why I sgand against you. These new mutations are unstable' Magneto points out, adding that while Shaw might deserve such a fate, others do not. Shaw  grabs Magneto's trenchcoat as Magneto tells him that he could kill him, could put him out of his misery – and he would guess Shaw would thank him with his dying breath. Magneto remarks that it might come to that – but not yet, as for now, Shaw might still prove useful to him. 'Puh-please' Shaw gasps. 'Your masters, Shaw. Those who hold the reins on Mothervine. I want to meet with them' Magneto tells the fallen king.

Back in Madripoor, Norio releases a blast of energy towards Malice / Polaris, who blocks it with a magnetic surge and tells Norio that he is a fiesty one. In his native Mandarin, Norio remarks that the Raksha are not so easily bested, not while on of them yet stands. He adds that his Darkforce gift is more than enough – but doesn't finish his sentence as Malice / Polaris traps him in a magnetic field. 'Norio! No!' Gazing Nightshade calls out from where she tries to sit up on the floor. Norio screams, as Malice / Polaris snaps several bons in his body – including his neck. 'I'm sorry. Were you saying something?' Malice grins. 'Let him go!' Polaris calls out from where she is trapped inside her own mind. 'What? What are you doing? You can't be here!' Malice exclaims. 'You get inside my head, I get inside yours' Polaris tells her, pointing out that it seems like a fair trade. 'But this isn't happening. I won't let it. Not again' Polaris declares.

'You call yourself Malice? You're nothing compared to the monster I dealt with before. Nothing' Polaris exclaims, proclaiming that if there is one thing that encounter left her with, it is the strength to stand up to this kind of control. The amulet containing Malice suddenly shatters into a dozen pieces. 'The will... the desire... to make sure I never let anyone use me like that again!' Lorna shouts. Lorna looks at her hands, she is back in control. 'I... did it. I'm free' Lorna utters, before looking around at the unmoving bodies of the Raksha.

Meanwhile, in Barcelona, Spain, people are enjoying themselves in a nightclub. Armed with some weapons, Briar Raleigh makes her way through the club, stern-faced she is looking for someone. 'Nice leg brace, Ms Raleigh. Not the type of fashion accessory you typically see here, but it certainly helps you stand out in a crowd' someone calls out, asking her where she got it. 'Magneto gave it to me, thank you very much' Briar replies as she turns around and is confronted by a shirtless Daken Akihiro. She tells him that she is glad she decided to meet her. Daken tells Briar that he came to meet with her boss, not one of his flunkies. 'I'm afraid you'll have to make do with me' Briar replies. 'Oh, will I?' Daken smiles.

Briar smiles back and tells Daken that she is not sure if he is trying to use his pheromone powers to scare her or turn her on, but that either way, it takes more than a chemical reaction to impress her. She then asks him if they can talk business, and holds up two swords, telling Daken that Magneto wants his help, which he knows already, and that she comes bearing gifts – something to say “welcome to the party”. Daken looks at the blades, 'They're adamantium. Purchased by me on the black market, shipped by Magneto himself' Briar reveals. 'And he wants me to wield them in his name?' Daken asks. Briar explains that Magneto wants him to put those swords to good use, and adds that she always thought Daken had a great potential for mayhem – so she can't wait to see what he would do with weapons like these.

Off the coast of Scotland, Magneto and Shaw stand on a cliffside, a lighthouse can be seen in the distance. Magneto remarks that he comes here sometimes, on nights just like this one, to watch the lighthouse. He wonders if perhaps he is hoping for direction, that maybe the glow will guide him to safe harbor the way it has guided so many ships. 'Out of all my secret bases, hidden safe houses and clandestine meeting places... this place has been my best-kept secret' Magneto claims. 'We should be honored, then, that you'd ask us to meet you here. Unless, of course, you're hoping that lighthouse of yours is going to guide us away from our current course of action' Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok remarks. 'No, Havok. I've been coming here for years. I can't say it's ever helped me to change my mind about anything' Magneto replies. 'Maybe tonight will be different' Havok suggests as he, Emma Frost, Bastion and Claudine Renko a.k.a. Miss Sinister stand on some rocks nearby.

Havok tells Magneto that they don't need to be enemies. 'We want the same things, you and I' he adds, remarking that the time has come for the mutant race to rule over the flatscans – and that it is within their grasp. 'That's what Shaw tried to tell me. Now look at him' Magneto replies, as Shaw is kneeled before him, a withered mess. Magneto tells the new arrivals that Shaw is not the only mutant to suffer in such a way – he has heard reports of others. 'These secondary mutations of yours come at a terrible price' Magneto warns the others. Havok tells Magneto that some setbacks, some errors in judgment are going to be expected – growing pains. 'The endgame...what we're going to accomplish...remains the same' he replies, boasting that Mothervine is so far beyond secondary mutations, that it really is something amazing – and they want Magneto to be a part of it. 'And if I refuse?' Magneto asks. 'Trust me. Once you fully understand what we're doing, you wouldn't dare!' replies Havok as energy crackles around them!

Characters Involved: 

Bloodstorm, Jimmy Hudson
Briar Raleigh
Xorn II
Gazing Nightshade, Hexadecimal, Norio, Whisper Doll (all Raksha)

Emma Frost
Miss Sinister
Sebastian Shaw

Armor, The Guardian, Mach-II (all New Marauders (Ultimate Universe))
Malice (Ultimate Universe)

Hellfire Club staff and guests

Story Notes: 

Polaris was possessed by Malice in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #219, and was freed of Malice in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #250.

Jean Grey found the Malice brooch, unaware of what it was, back in X-Men: Blue #5.

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