X-Men: Die by the Sword #2

Issue Date: 
December 2007
Story Title: 
The Sword is Drawn

Chris Claremont (writer), Juan Santacruz (penciler), Raul Fernandez (inkers), Simon Bowland (letterer), Rob Ro (colorist), Nathan Cosby & Jordan D. White (assistant editors), Nick Lowe (consulting editor), Mark Paniccia (senior editor) Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Psylocke, Sage and Thunderbird try to fight Rouge Mort and her men while Captain Britain is gravely injured and the others try to evacuate the guests. Eventually, Betsy decides to save her brother by teleporting all the heroes to the Exiles’ Crystal Palace. There, she quickly explains matters to her team mates and Cap is taken to the infirmary. Dazzler is in for a shock as she meets the husband she believed dead – Longshot, who doesn’t remember her. Distraught, Dazzler runs outside considering harming herself, but is talked out of it by new Exile Mystiq. In Otherworld, Roma admits that she may be finite and Saturnyne challenges her authority. Back at the Crystal Palace Cap’s state is still touch and go. While Wisdom briefs Psylocke about Albion, Cap is visited by the mysterious god who has vexed the Exiles lately and he promises Brian that all will be well. Later, Cat Pryde alerts the others that she checked on Roma’s Starlight Citadel and Roma and the Captain Britain Corps seem to be under attack by Jaspers and his two Furies.

Full Summary: 

Moments before the strange armoured woman calling herself Rouge Mort injured Captain Britain, possibly mortally, and swore they’d all die. Instantly, Betsy Braddock reacts by kicking the woman in the face and hitting her. She vows that attacking her brother is the biggest mistake the woman has ever made and the last. Rouge Mort grabs her hand and swats her aside. The next moment her men are on Betsy who bravely tries to survive. Fortunately, she isn’t in the fight alone, as Sage joins the fray and takes care of some of her attackers.

In the meantime, Thunderbird orders Nocturne to get the civilians outside. What about him? she asks. He does what he’s made to, Thunderbird replies. Just so he doesn’t forget it’s not what he does best, she replies and kisses him before asking him to be careful. She almost lost him once. She won’t let that happen again. With the help of Excalibur’s doctor friend Marissa she begins shepherding the guests out while Thunderbird tries off to engage the attackers.

In the meantime, Sage has drawn a gun to fire at Rouge Mort. The other woman disarms her and calls her a fool. Who is this bloody woman? Betsy wonders annoyed as she tries to stem the bleeding of Brian’s wound. Impossible to tell, the ever analytical Sage replies. She doesn’t recognize her combat style and her armor not only hides her appearance, it alters her voice. Rouge Mort advises them not to waste their time on her; they have so little of it left. She fires the gun she took from Sag at Thunderbird, much to TJ’s horror.

Alerted by the noise, Wisdom and Dazzler rush in, both in a state of undress.

Nocturne tries to possess Rouge Mort, only to be repelled and luckily be caught by Wisdom. Thunderbird chides her that she knows he has survived harder hits than this. He asks her to back off.

As Dazzler manifests a lightsword, she observes that, for all the damage her friends have done to Rouge Mort’s men, she doesn’t appear terribly bothered.

Betsy, holding her brother, asks Wisdom whether there is anything they can do. Seeing Brian’s injuries, Pete bluntly tells her he doubts anyone can help with a wound like this. This world can be so bloody useless! Betsy cries and decides they have to get Brian to the Crystal Palace. She orders Alison to provide them with cover. Just like that, Alison Blaire steals every sound in the room and transforms them into light almost too brilliant to be endured. The effect doesn’t last long. In a matter of moments, the stellar light is gone… but so are the heroes.

Good move, Rouge Mort admits, but the battle has barely begun! They have merely won themselves a reprieve.

At the Starlight Citadel, the Celestial Majestera Roma sheds another tear. Standing at her chessboard, she has dropped the figure representing Captain Britain.

Having heard the alarm, Saturnyne rushes to her side, asking if she is all right. Roma admits that she’s lost Brian Braddock. She no longer has any psychic contact or spiritual awareness of him. Not the slightest sense of being. One moment, he was there in her thought, an awareness of him strong in her soul. The next he was gone. Saturnyne asks if he is dead. She doesn’t know, Roma admits.

She’s never heard her talk like this, Saturnyne observes. She’s never faced a day like this, Roma replies. Walking onto her balcony, she admits that everything’s question now and all’s become finite. For such as Saturnyne, that’s the nature of existence to have a beginning and end. For her, that’s something new. Neither imagined no faced.

With a smile, Saturnyne asks if this could mean the end for her. Roma asks why she’s smiling. Because it makes Roma a bit more like her, the other woman declares, and that gives her a decent chance to win.

Roma doesn’t understand. Saturnyne’s fight isn’t with her. That’s where she’s always been wrong, Saturnyne replies challengingly. She serves because she believed she had no choice. She is mortal, Roma’s a god. But if Roma isn’t, if the scales are even just a little bit equal, then who knows what’ll happen next, or who will ultimately prevail? Perhaps it’s time for the omniverse to change? Roma has no reply.

Somewhere between the realms of what is and what might be, between reality and dreams, that’s where one can find the Crystal Palace, HQ of the Exiles. Psylocke has teleported her brother and Excalibur there. Barely arrived, she orders Sabretooth to get Heather, they need help – now! Sabretooth complies, asking all the Exiles to come to the transit bay right now. There’s an emergency. He calls up Icon (aka “Heather”) to help and goes to carry Brian to the medical bay, worrying that he can barely get a pulse. They pass Morph who is happy to see his old teammate Nocturne and hugs her.

They are joined by Blink and new members Rogue and Mystiq. Blink introduces herself to the other members of Excalibur and Sage reciprocates, explaining the situation. Blink then also notices the return of their friend TJ.

Dazzler notices another arrival: Longshot. It’s her, Ali, doesn’t he remember? she asks. Longshot blankly stares at the woman who once was his wife, asking if the have met. Heartbroken, Dazzler glows blindingly and runs away. When Blink impatiently asks what’s going on TJ plays the diplomat and asks Clarice to cut Ali some slack. She’s just has a really primal shock.

Suddenly, they are contacted by another new Exiles member, Cat Pyde, who asks if they are having trouble, as something just fried all the scanners in the transport bay. Wisdom recognizes the double of his ex lover and wonders if this group is some sort of X-Men subset.

Mystiq, a middle-aged, slim redheaded man in a three-piece suit suggests to Blink he go find the missing Dazzler. When Clarice points out that he’s a new arrival himself he asks what better way for him to learn the local geography.

Icon alerts them that they need help and that she’s told to gather someone named Sage. It’s a medical emergency. Sage goes to the medbay, while Pete asks Blink if there’s any hope of getting some proper clothes while they try and find out what’s going on.

Dazzler stands at the edge of an impossibly tall building’s roof. Heartbroken she muses that Longshot doesn’t remember her. She recalls loving him and decides that Mojo must have done something to him, treated him just like some kind of toy. She bets Mojo is also responsible for her strange condition o being unable to die. Bleakly, she thinks that, no matter what they do, Mojo always seems to win.

Mystiq politely asks if she can fly. Because if she can’t, it might be wise not to stand at the edge. It looks like a very long way down. Doesn’t matter, Ali replies. Whatever way she manages to get herself killed she always seems to get better. Bravo for her, he replies charmingly, but how does she plan to get herself back up? With a slight smile Ali admits that she hadn’t thought of that and allows Raphael to help her down.

Does she know that young man? he asks, referring to Longshot. He doesn’t remember her anymore, she admits. That any reason to run away? he asks. Ali doesn’t know. Every time she tries to rebuild her life there’s some kind of earthquake. Perhaps so, Mystiq points out, but it appears to him that each time she gets buried she finds herself a way to dig herself free and star again. Not a bad thing to have such an indomitable will. If only she knew what to do with it, Ali wonders.

In the infirmary, Sage decides that Brian is stable at the moment and Icon can watch over him. Standing at her brother’s side Betsy asks if there’s nothing more that they can do. Sage wouldn’t mind a change in clothes and gently reminds Betsy that they’ve done what they can. Getting confrontational, Betsy asks if she is saying Brian is going to die. Not if they can help it, Sage replies and points out that in the worst case they can place him in the Exiles’ stasis chamber.

The devil they will, Brian mumbles weakly. The devil they won’t, Betsy shoots back. Whatever it takes to save him, she’ll be there. Weakly he tells her he’s been thinking. Something Rouge said before Betsy charged her… This is part of a coordinated assault on the Captain Corps… and Roma. He was simply the first target… the first casualty. Roma can call on an army of Captains, Betsy reminds him. She will be fine. And so will he.

Ordering him to get some sleep, she leaves with Sage. Stepping on a balcony she runs into Wisdom, who admires the view. Just the beginning she tells him. The place is bigger than it looks. Well, it looks bloody huge, he tells her. Are she and Brian truly twins? he asks her. It’s a long story, she replies. He can’t wait to hear it, but first do they have anything around here resembling decent coffee?

A cup of coffee and a view of an endless ocean later, Betsy asks Pete to tell her about Albion. He tells her to imagine her brother growing up in a world at war. Albion wasn’t evil. He’s a soldier who does what’s needed to win. It’s a shame, he muses. You talk with Albion, you get a sense of what he might have been. Unfortunately they have to deal with who he is. His turn: Why does she ask?

They talk for quite a while and then Betsy returns to her brother’s side, praying that his bio-readings will improve, refusing to accept the fact that they won’t.

Blink startles her alert. Clarice informs her that she’s needed and teleports her away. They are barely gone when the mysterious god the Exiles have run into recently appears as Brian’s side. He touches Brian’s forehead, remarking that Betsy needs to trust her instincts as Brian does his, and all will turn out all right in the end.

Blink and Betsy reappear in a ready room where the rest of Excalibur and the Exiles are already waiting. Blink explains she had Cat check out Roma and the Captain Corps Betsy’s brother was so worried about. Brilliant idea, lousy outcome, Sabretooth guesses. Cat shows them a hologram image of Roma’s headquarters, the Starlight Citadel. An army of Captains gets ready for war as on the opposite side stand a very confident Mad Jim Jaspers and his two new Furies.

Whatever Mr. Braddock was worried about, Cat fears, it looks like the reality could be a whole lot worse…

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain, Dazzler, Nocturne, Sage, Pete Wisdom (all new Excalibur)

Blink, Cat, Longshot, Morph, Mystiq, Psylocke, Rogue, Sabretooth, Thunderbird

Icon / Heather



James “Mad Jim” Jaspers

Rouge Mort

Rouge Mort’s men

Mysterious “god”

Story Notes: 

This story takes place after New Excalibur #24 and between Exiles #99 and 100.

Excalibur fought Albion and his Captains in New Excalibur #18-24.

Wisdom’s remark about Betsy and Brian being twins no doubt refers to the fact that Betsy looks Asian due to very complex circumstances. [see the Psylocke and Revanche spotlights]

Issue Information: 
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