X-Men: Die by the Sword #5

Issue Date: 
February 2008
Story Title: 
Dawn of a New Day?

Chris Claremont (writer), Juan SAntacruz (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: 

Captain Britain fights against the true Fury, barely holding his own. He finally gets help from Albion and eventually the Exiles who, thanks to Blink’s plan to overload the Fury with her energy lances, help destroy it. Within the citadel, the mortally wounded Roma downloads her knowledge and memories into the unsuspecting Sage before Merlyn can kill her. Psylocke then proceeds to kick Merlyn’s butt. Merlyn confronts the heroes and flees vowing vengeance, unaware that the remainder of the Fury has attached itself to him. Longshot begins to recognize his lost love Dazzler and a near insane Sage begs Psylocke for asylum with the Exiles. The heroes hold a memorial service for Roma. Saturnyne wants to found a new Captain Corps with Albion as leader and in effect exiles Captain Britain to Earth. The two gods say good-bye to Betsy, certain that their legacy is in good hands.

Full Summary: 

Not so long ago in the celestial scheme of things, the Fury was created. Intended as the ultimate killing machine, it learned from every encounter. It could never be beaten the same way twice. Its creators believed they’d thought of everything. Including primal safeguards to guarantee it could never rebel against them. Sadly, they never imagined that their world, their entire dimension, would be erased from existence. But that’s what happened. Only the Fury survived. Until it was believed destroyed by Captain Britain and Captain UK.

Seemingly however the same pan-dimensional force that resurrected James Jaspers not so long ago also did the same for the Fury, hidden within the heart of his physical being. Now with Jaspers’ existence in jeopardy, the Fury has awakened and is in the process of fully manifesting itself, subsuming Jaspers.

Captain Britain attacks at full strength, vowing he isn’t going to give the still off-balance creature a second chance. Then the Fury catches him by his hand and tosses him to the ground, hard.

Captain UK, one of the few Captains still standing alongside Justicer Bull, wants to help, but Saturnyne orders her to stand her ground. This is Brian’s moment for better or worse, they have to think about what happens next.

Angrily, Linda tells her that, if Brian fails, there won’t be any bloody next. Saturnyne shouts back that they wait but they’ll act when they have to. Anything less makes a mockery of those who’ve already died. Silently, she prays it won’t get that far and that Brian will justify Roma’s faith in him and Linda’s. and hers.

As Cap continues fighting, how recalls the first time he fought the Fury. It was like a force of nature. For all his strength and skill, all Brian seemed to be able to do was get himself beaten bloody and then killed. Merlyn brought him back to life then. And when next Brian faced the Fury, it was he, with the aid of Linda MacQuillan, who ultimately emerged victorious. But it was a close call even then. This battle looks closer.

The Exiles and Albion see the fight and get ready to help. Things get worse as the Starlight Citadel crashes and falls. In the rubble, Blink decides that they can’t interfere. Those two are way out of their league, which means they can’t just react. They have to think. When Sabretooth asks her what she suggests, she hints that this is something only she can do and asks them to trust her. She hugs Thunderbird and Sabretooth, pecks Morph on the cheek and asks them to keep their fingers crossed (and watch Albion) before she teleports away.

Inside the crashed Citadel, Sage asks the stabbed Roma how badly she is hurt. She suspects she’s been better, comes the weak and wry reply. Sage asks if there is an infirmary but Roma just asks what is happening outside. Angrily, Sage insists she is trying to help. Then do as she asks, Roma retorts.

Sage looks outside. She sees Captain Britain fighting, but not Jaspers… “No!” she shouts as she recognizes Captain Britain’s foe and recalls how some time ago she found herself possessed by the Fury, forced to attack her fellow X-Men, until she ultimately severed the chains that bound her.

While she hesitates, lost in thought, Roma sneaks up on her and grabs her head. Both their eyes begin to glow. Roma apologizes profusely, but there is no better way… and Sage begins to scream.

Elsewhere in the citadel, Merlyn hears the scream. While it doesn’t sound like Roma, he senses that she is involved. Merlyn curses her as his daughter altered the core structure of the citadel to inhibit the effectiveness of his psychic powers.

Finding her, he almost wonders who denied him his righteous prize. She isn’t quite dead, Roma states calmly. She saved the last moment for him. Whatever happens to her, his cause is lost. Merlyn calls her a fool and kills his daughter with an energy blast. Ultimate victory will be his, he vows. And once he claimed the knowledge that was in her brain, so too will be the future!

“What makes him think he even has a future?” suddenly comes the question as Psylocke appears and kicks him in the back. Merlyn is furious and fires an energy blast at her, however Betsy easily evades it and hits him again. Merlyn is aghast as the prospect of being injured. He fights back with his fists.

Amused, Betsy observes that she’s struck a nerve. He’s the kind who loves to set details in motion but can’t abide details. Let the peons shed the blood; he comes along after the facts and collects the spoils. Sorry, things don’t work like that. One has to prove oneself worthy and he isn’t even close. With that, she elegantly evades him again and kicks him in the face.

Merlyn fires another energy blast meant to kill, but Betsy uses her telekinesis to protect herself with a shield. First, she fends him off with a TK Katana, then she turns it into a baseball bat and slugs him far away.

Elsewhere, her brother isn’t holding himself as well as the Fury, which keeps on recovering. Luckily for Cap, help comes in the form of Albion. What kept him, Brian deadpans. The two Captains strike simultaneously as Cap gives Albion a quick rundown on the Fury as the ultimate killing machine.

Blink sees the Fury vulnerable at that moment and makes her entrance. She fires a full quiver of energy arrows at it and teleports herself and the two Captains away moments before the Fury explodes. Not too shabby, Sabretooth admits. She had a dynamite teacher, Blink retorts.

Captain UK wonders if the Fury can reform itself. That was a full quiver of energy lances, Blink replies. There shouldn’t be anything left. Make sure, Saturnyne orders. Morph points out they have a bigger problem, namely Merlyn. Cap tells him the battle is over. His allies are beaten. Or dead, Albion adds. He’s lost.

Psylocke comes after Merlyn, unlike him not even breaking a sweat. He won’t get away from her so easily. She’s quite something, his sister, Albion remarks to Captain Britain with a smile. Makes him wish he had a twin.

Wiping away the blood from his face, a grim Merlyn taunts them Do they truly think they’ve won? This is but a battle, the war has just begun. He will deal with all of them in good time and without any mercy. Before he disappears, unnoticed by all of them the last tiny shred of the Fury has attached itself to the injury on Merlyn’s foot.

With the villain gone, Cap suggests they go looking for their missing: Roma, Sage, Longshot and Dazzler.

The latter two at least have survived the cave-in, thanks to Longshot’s luck. He begs the unconscious Dazzler to open her eyes as he starts to recall her. He wants to make sure this isn’t dream. He remembers? she asks as she comes awake. Not everything. Not yet, just the things that are important. They kiss.

Albion carries Roma’s dead body out of the runs. He dreamed for years of this moment, he admits, when he finally achieved his revenge. Now it seems the joke’s on both of them. Roma’s dead, Brian muses. The Corps is near to annihilated, yet the omniverse still needs its champions. They’ll have to start again. Not with him, Saturnyne decides. She wants Albion to lead the Corps.

Both Braddocks stare at her with an identical look of confusion on their faces. She explains that times have changed. A harder day has dawned. They need a full-time lead who’s more suited to dealing with these kinds of threats. She feels Albion is better suited to this new reality and the battle to come. Also, Brian’s homeworld is just too dangerous. Better to have him stay there to keep a proper eye on things.

Albion declines, pointing out that he has a commitment to fulfill. He won’t betray his word. Saturnyne tells him to leave that to her. She’ll have him free in no time.

They go looking for the one missing person, Sage. Betsy is instinctively sure she isn’t dead. She wishes she could still read minds. Be thankful you can’t comes a weak voice as Sage stumbles over to her. Is she all right? Betsy asks. Looking at Betsy, Sage sees not only her, but alternate selves as well as the people who shaped her. She thinks she’s gone quite mad! Sage shouts.

She sinks down before Betsy and pleads with her not to send her back to Earth. “Why?” Betsy asks puzzled. Sage doesn’t give a reason, thinking to herself that she barely controls the knowledge Roma has passed on to her. If the wrong people get control of it, even she cannot tell the consequences. She needs to be somewhere safe. She begs Betsy to trust her.

Betsy takes her to the others just in time for the memorial. They are gathered around Roma’s glass coffin. Betsy tells Brian that she’s staying with the Exiles and so is Sage. Brian informs her that Nocturne is returning with her as well to be with Thunderbird. On the other hand, Longshot is returning with them to be with Alison. Poor Wisdom, Betsy remarks.

They hug as Brian complains that those farewell are getting to be too much of a habit. As long as they are alive, they are ahead of the game she replies. And if they are ahead they have a decent chance to win.

In the Crystal Palace’s tower, the two gods decide it’s time. The woman gives the sleeping Cat a peck on the cheek. In another place, they say good-bye to Betsy, who asks them to stay. As they disappear, the man promises they’ll always be in her memories and heart.

In reality, Betsy is in tears and Brian asks her what’s wrong. She tells him that she was just thinking about friends. About the history that was and the future that’s yet to be and all the fun they’ll hope to have getting there.

Characters Involved: 

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

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


Opal Luna Saturnyne


Captain UK

Justicer Bull

The two gods


The Fury

Story Notes: 

This story takes place after New Excalibur #24 and between Exiles #99 and 100. The Exiles’ adventures continue in the New Exiles series.

The two gods are an homage to New X-Men co-creator Dave Cockrum, who passed away last year, and his wife Paty.

When Betsy talks with the “Cockrums” in the astral plane, she is wearing the same outfit as in Exiles #96.

Sage was possessed by the Fury in Uncanny X-Men #447-448.
This is in effect an epilogue to the New Excalibur series. Sage joins the Exiles, Nocturne returns with the Exiles, but goes on a sabbatical, Dazzler eventually joins the cast of Uncanny X-Men, Longshot will joinX-Factor and Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom will star in the new series Captain Britain and MI:13.

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