X-Men: Die by the Sword #4

Issue Date: 
January 2008
Story Title: 
When Is Born the Nightmare

Chris Claremont (writer), Cafu (penciler), Norberto Fernandez (inker), Simon Bowland (letterer), Rob Ro (colorist), Jelena Devic-Djurdjevic (cover artist), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Mark Paniccia (senior editor) Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

While several Exiles fight Jaspers, Psylocke, Wisdom and Sage take a cue from the injured Captain Britain, who is in surgery, and free Albion to help them. One freed, Albion helps the Exiles fight Jaspers. In the meantime, Dazzler fights Rouge Mort and Longshot, who is beginning to remember her, joins the fight. They are both beaten (and in Dazzler’s case killed again) by an invisible Merlyn, who is looking for Roma. Roma is lethally injured by one of the Janissaries and the Exiles and Albion get help from a recovered Captain Britain, after the real Fury manifests itself.

Full Summary: 

The Observation Room of the Crystal Palace: In her wildest dreams which can get pretty wild Cat Pryde never imagined a place like this. Technology like this. A view like this. She watches her fellow Exiles Sabretooth, Blink, Morph and Thunderbird fighting the mad god Jaspers.

In another part of the Crystal Palace, non-powered expert surgeons Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler are fighting to save the life of Captain Britain 616.

While on Earth 616, the stealthier members of Excalibur and the Exiles Psylocke, Sage and Pete Wisdom have just entered a certain prison.

In one part of Roma’s Starlight Citadel, Roma and Longshot are on the run while in another part of that citadel Dazzler faces the mysterious Rouge Mort.

For Cat, the problem isn’t seeing things, but figuring out what to do next. As she ponders her options, she is watched by the two mysterious godlike beings that have been haunting the Exiles recently. The man remarks that Cat is a quick study. His wife reminds him that this isn’t a game.

Outside Roma’s Citadel:

Despite his face being caved in, Jaspers hits Sabretooth back and transforms his shape. Next, he punches Thunderbird away and then goes for Morph. They don’t get beat that easily, Morph replies and mimics Jaspers’s form as if to goad him. Blink intends to strike Jaspers from behind again with one of her blots, but as she has used that trick before Jaspers is prepared and creates a suit of armor to protect his back. Not his front, though, which gives Morph another opportunity to attack.

Blink teleports to Sabretooth’s side, complaining that his punch had no effect. Sabretooth points out that they have bigger problems and tells her to take a good look at Morph’s fighting style. Remind her of anyone… say Proteus? She doesn’t care, as long as they win, she decides. They rest they’ll save for later.

Her Majesty’s Ultimate Security Prison Crossmore, Earth 616, at the moment occupied by on single inmate, the would-be conqueror Albion. Wisdom roughly shakes him awake. Unsurprised, Albion asks if they are here to kill him. Is this what he expects? Wisdom asks. Is this what he’d do? Yes to both, Albion replies, although…

Although… Wisdom insists. He supposes he expected different from Braddock, Albion admits. Something… better. Because he’s weak? Betsy asks. Albion smirks. If Braddock is weak then so is he. They are built on different foundations that’s all. Braddock believes in the best from people. He’s not that generous. Betsy coldly reminds him that he tried to kill her brother. But he didn’t, Albion retorts and he learned that Braddock was not his enemy. Is that what they came to hear?

Actually, they came to ask for his help, Wisdom admits. To help them save Roma and the Captain Corps, Psylocke adds. He’d sooner see them rot, Albion replies automatically. With a smirk, Betsy admits she thought he’d say that. This was Brian’s idea. He’s the one with faith in Albion. So what were those words Albion just spoke – just words?

Why should he? Albion muses. How about because it’s the right thing to do, Wisdom suggests. Where’s Braddock, Albion wants to know. Fighting for his life after falling to an assassin’s ambush, Betsy informs him. All right, then, Albion decides. He’ll help.

Wisdom warns him that he’ll come back to Crossmore after this mission. He finishes his sentence, understood? He has his word, Albion replies grimly. They do this for Brian, Betsy adds. It’s her brother who’s trusting him. Taking her hand, Albion assures her he doesn’t give his word lightly and he never breaks it.

At the Starlight Citadel, a lone Dazzler confronts a confident Rouge Mort and her men. Surprisingly, Dazzler does a good job of holding her own both in hand to hand combat and with her powers. Moving and using the enemies’ numbers against them, she wonders how Longshot would feel about those tactics. Wisdom though would love them…

Suddenly, Rouge Mort kicks her in the back. Okay, he wouldn’t love that, Ali admits to herself as she fends of the woman’s blows, noticing that she packs a stronger wallop than even the Juggernaut. And her body armor doesn’t make things easier. Ali uses a judo throw to get rid of her. Unfortunately, she has lost track of Rouge’s men, who surprise her with a nasty blow.

Elsewhere in the citadel, Longshot is trying to lead Roma to safety while consumed by thoughts about Alison. He can’t seem to stop thinking about her and has the feeling she is in trouble. That moment, they are attacked by more of Rouge Mort’s Janissaries. Longshot engages them in combat thinking Ali would say something witty to that and wondering the next moment why he seems to know her so well.

One Janissary has Longshot cornered and wonders why his foe smiles. The reason is Sag who luckily has turned up just in time to save Longshot. Together, they make short work of the Janissaries. Despite his own injuries, Longshot is more worried about Alison. Their commlinks don’t work here, Sage replies. Longshot asks her to look after Roma while he go find Alison.

He leaves and Sage finds that Roma has been grievously injured by a stray knife. Perhaps she should have ducked? Roma suggests wryly, though clearly in pain.

Meanwhile outside the citadel, Thunderbird and Sabretooth have already fallen and Jaspers has Blink and Morph on the ropes. Blink cries in horror as she sees Morph being transformed into another Fury. With him finished, Jaspers turns to her. The Fury behind him turns back to Morph, unfortunately Jaspers was aware of him playacting and grabs him again.

Rescue comes in the form of Albion, who smashes right into Jaspers. Furious, Jaspers turns his arms into Fury-style cannons and fires away. Nevertheless, Albion manages to lay down another blow, followed by slicing through Jaspers with his blade.

Jaspers is annoyed, but his two halves remerge. Both his arms now look completely Fury-like. He grabs Albion’s sword and tosses it aside.

Dazzler, in the meantime, is holding her own against Rouge-Mort. Longshot chances upon them. Calling her Ali, he chides himself for being silly, worrying for her. Dazzler is distracted as she notices that he recalls her name. Opportunity enough for someone to lethally hit her.

Longshot angrily kicks Rouge Mort and tosses his blades at what seems to be thin air. One blade ricochets from the wall and hits somebody invisible. The invisible being cries out in pain, then strikes Longshot, announcing that Rouge didn’t do anything. He decided to bring it all to an end. The battle and their silly pathetic lives.

With Longshot too fallen, Merlyn turns visible again. Quite a fascinating experience, he muses, to end another’s life like this. He should have tried it sooner. He wonders how it will feel to do such a thing to Roma? He creates a simulacrum of his daughter and sends it off to find the real thing. He follows, unaware that, due to his injured foot, he is leaving a trail off blood.

Outside the citadel, Sabretooth and Thunderbird have recovered and the four Exiles wonder if they should help Albion. The newbie isn’t doing much better, though he is sure giving it the old college try. Sabretooth notices something odd with Jaspers. Not only his arms have changed, but now it’s happening to his leg.

Jaspers becomes nervous; this isn’t right. His left leg has taken the odd shape of the Fury’s. Against his will, his arm fires at the Captains and his body changes against his will. He cries for help, for someone to save him, as the original Fury manifests itself for good, totally consuming Jaspers in the process.

Captain UK remarks that this is the real thing, right? Not one of Jaspers’s constructs. Saturnyne agrees. Linda killed it once…

Anybody got any bright ideas Sabretooth asks. Make friends? Morph suggests. That’s a nice thought, comes a new voice, but the Fury isn’t built like that.

The real Captain Britain is back. This corps was founded to fulfill a dream. However they’ve changed since then and on occasion faltered, that purpose remains. To protect the innocent and the helpless against all forms of oppression. That creature would bring all of existence to its end. And they are all that stand against it. He cannot speak for them but this is the battle he was born to fight and win!

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain, Dazzler, Sage, Wisdom (all Excalibur)

Blink, Cat, Longshot, Psylocke, Sabretooth, Thunderbird (all Exiles)



Opal Luna Saturnyne

Captain UK, Justicer Bull and other members of the Captain Britain Corps

James “Mad Jim” Jaspers

The Fury


Rouge Mort

Rouge Mort’s Janissaries

The two godlike beings

Story Notes: 

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

Issue Information: 
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