X-Men: Kingbreaker #1

Issue Date: 
February 2009
Story Title: 
Kingbreaker – part 1

Christopher Yost (writer), Dustin Weaver (penciler), Jaime Mendoza (inker), Nathan Fairbairn (colorist), Blambot’s Nate Piekos (letterer), Daniel Ketchum & Will Panzo (assistant editors), Nick Lowe (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Emperor Vulcan continues his plans of galactic conquest by subjugating the frightening Z’nox, much to the dismay of the other races. He also keeps a part of the Starjammers captive and has them tortured – or in Polaris’ case sedated as her powers keep on canceling any neutralizing devices. He is most obsessed with breaking his brother Havok though, something he doesn’t manage. The free members of the group, Lilandra, Marvel Girl and Korvus, in the meantime, manage to get back the Starjammer and plan for their friends’ release. When the furious Vulcan learns about this and finds that most of his Imperial Guard are busy elsewhere, he intends to create a new Guard made of criminals to chase the missing Starjammers.

Full Summary: 

The planet Z’nox:

The Huz’deyr star system:

The first praetorian fleet of the Shi’ar armada arrives there. Their fleet mandate: the expansion of the Empire.

The Z’nox learn there is an invasion fleet and immediately engage their planetary defenses to shoot the invaders out of the sky. However, by the time a messenger arrives to inform the king in his palace, they already under attack. A moment later, the walls of the throne room crumble. Through the smoke and rubble, the king coughs that they are the Z’nox. They will never fall! He gives orders to call home their forces. They will destroy the Avians. No one can withstand the Z’nox!

As if in cue, the rather unstoppable Gladiator – member of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard – lands to join his Emperor. Gabriel Summers, known as Emperor Vulcan, steps on the head of the king of the Z’nox. He has a message for him, Vulcan announces, from his new ruler: Welcome to the Sh’iar Empire.

Planet Ovar:

The Janstak star system:

A council of many alien races is in uproar. The Kree ambassador reminds the others that the authority of the Galactic Council could have helped prevent some of the recent catastrophes. The Rigelian ambassador reminds him that the Kree did not suffer alone during the Annihilation Wave. He asks his recorder for the facts. At last known census 3.279 trillion lives were lost due to…

The Kree interrupts him. Ronan has taken steps to insure the Kree’s protection and survival. Can Rigel say the same? Can any other empire say that? The Rigelian agrees with him. The Galactic Council must be re-formed. The withdrawal of the Shi’ar is troublesome enough. Their lack of aid during the Annihilation Wave and the recent conquest of Kree space is even more so.

Indeed, another group, the Ovoids, announces… and perhaps more than troubling. Ovoid scanners have intercepted a distress call from the Z’nox. They have been invaded by Shi’ar forces. They are outside the Shi’ar galaxy. Lilandra Neramani renounced expansion after the Kree / Shi’ar war. If there is to be order, the Shi’ar must be involved. They are too powerful to be ignored. They will get an answer to this incursion from the Imperium… whoever may be running it.

On Chandilar, surrounding a giant statue of Vulcan, Shi’ar cheer the emperor’s name. Standing on a dais, under representations of the gods Sharra and Kythri, the Empress Cal’syee Neramani aka Deathbird addresses her people. Emperor Vulcan has made true his promise… the Shi’ar rise again! Their power grows and their empire expands! The universe once more bows to their power! It has already begun. For this day… their emperor has broken the king of the mighty Z’nox!

A little behind her, to her side stands her uncle, Admiral Ka’ardum, leader of the Shi’ar fleet. The crowd gets worked up to a frenzy as Deathbird shouts this is their Emperor Vulcan! Vulcan the great! Vulcan the kingbreaker!

He should be here, the admiral informs her after her speech. He should stay on the front line, or be here on Chandilar, overseeing the empire. Not tormenting his brother. And will he tell Vulcan what he should be doing? Deathbird scoffs. He knows she is not afraid of Vulcan. She fears nothing, she never did, he reminisces. She reminds him that Vulcan is emperor. He does what he wants. But she knows his heart and she knows the hate that blood can cause. Let him have his hate. It makes the empire strong.

On several screens, they watch the Shi’ar invading other worlds. There is strength, Ka’ardum ventures, and then there is recklessness. Her husband is strong enough to survive his own faults, Deathbird decides. His enemies are not.

The extrasolar gas giant Ka’Murr:

A talon, a small ship deviates from its course, ignoring the calls of the spaceyard Kythri’s Anvil. The reason is one Rachel Grey who has taken over the Captain’s mind. She uses the talon to attack the spaceyard, then warns Lilandra in her small ship that they have already sent out the alarm. They’ve got about five minutes before the rest of the fleet arrives. If any of the Guard shows up, Lilandra begins. Rachel interrupts her she knows the drill. Just go!

Lilandra boards the spaceyard along with fellow Starjammer, Korvus Rook’shir. She assures the crew she doesn’t want to hurt them. She begs them to lay down their arms. The reply is that her termination has been ordered by the emperor himself. She apologizes for failing them, then orders Korvus to take them. Korvus, Rook’shir, wielder of the Blade of the Phoenix, attacks and quickly takes them out, afterwards he criticizes that allowing them to live is a mistake and wastes time. Her hands have enough blood on them, she retorts. Now if their intelligence is correct, what they want is here. And it is. The Starjammer.

Outside the station, Marvel Girl uses her vast telekinetic powers to keep off Shi’ar fighter, but urges them to hurry. Lilandra informs her they’ve got the Starjammer and are launching now. Get ready for evac. Finally, she announces, not aware of a ship behind her. But she is saved by the Starjammer.

Later: the World, Shi’ar space. Home the M’kraan crystal. Site of the M’kraan genocide:

Aboard the Starjammer, Rachel, carrying Cho’d’s pet Cr’reee on her shoulder, asks how much longer they are going to hide in this graveyard. Lilandra’s contacts don’t know where Alex and Lorna are, she can’t get close enough to read anyone who knows… they could be dead!

In the meantime, Sikorsky, the ship’s medic, tries to take care of Korvus’ injuries but he isn’t interested. Lilandra reminds Rachel that her contacts found them the ship. Vulcan is keeping the others alive. Havok, Polaris, even Ch’od and Raza. Had he killed them, he would let the whole universe know. She assures Rachel that they will find them. This is her empire, not Vulcan’s, not Deathbird’s or Ka’ardum’s. Hers. And she will have it back before they plunge the entire universe into war!

The planet Kr’kn. At the edge of Shi’ar space:

Havok crouches in his dark, isolated cell. A guard informs Vulcan that they believe that ever since the emperor’s initial visits, after he told him of the spies’ reports of the mutant activity on Earth that Havok’s mind has snapped. He responds to nothing, he does nothing. Vulcan has broken him.

Vulcan informs him he doesn’t know his brother. Have they continued working him over? The warden replies that he’s been interrogated, tortured… made to listen to the torture of his teammates. He’s been told the remaining Starjammers are dead. It doesn’t affect him. Nothing does. And his powers? Vulcan asks. Gone from what they can tell. He absorbs ambient cosmic energy. His first few weeks here he expended everything in violent outburst. But underwater, inside the prison walls… no cosmic energy, no power. He’s got nothing left.

Suddenly, Havok looks up at the camera and addresses Vulcan. I know you are out there, Gabriel. I can feel you.

Show him the others, Vulcan orders. Raza Longknife hangs chained from the walls, his cyborg parts having been excised. The Warden reminds the emperor they recommend execution for all the prisoners. Not yet, comes his rely. The warden points out that Longknife has killed eight guards since he’s been here. He kept piecing together weapons out of his cybernetic part. They’ve since had them removed.

Ch’od too is chained. Guards attack him with heat weapons. The warden announces that he’s almost impervious to torture and he’s been tortured the most. His manner… upsets the torturers. When they are finished, Ch’od asks if that was it, sounding disappointed. Their lines lack confidence and the complete absence of style is sad. They should try again.

Lorna Dane aka Polaris is chained to a bed and kept sedated. The warden explains they were forced to drug her. Nothing else works. They keep modifying the power dampener, but she keeps shorting it out. And the drugs… something in her system is burning them out as well. Something beyond any mutant powers they’ve ever seen.

Vulcan touches her chin. What’s inside her? he muses. More drugs, he decides. Record her being injected. Show it to Havok. Make it pain…

That moment, Lorna opens her eyes. Alex… she mouths.
The next moment she gets her bearings. Vulcan swears and tells them to get the syringe now.

Shouting his name, Polaris slams them all away with a magnetic field, before vowing to kill him. Gabriel strikes her. Back to sleep, he orders. He orders his people to find out what’s making her so powerful. And they may want to up the dosage again…

Havok sits in his cell. Suddenly, Vulcan’s face appears on a screen. Raza Longknife is dead, he announces. And it’s all your fault, big brother. He’s so sad, Havok replies, like a child, trying to hurt him. It’s pathetic, really. He can wait as long as it takes, because he’s already won. Because, even though Gabriel rules an empire, he’s still coming to Alex. So desperate for him to bow down to him. And it’s never going to happen!

Enraged, Vulcan glows with power. He can kill him anytime he wants! he announces. He can kill Lorna anytime he wants. He can go to Earth and kill Scott… just like he killed their father. He remembers, Alex replies calmly and looks directly at the camera. Anxious, Vulcan ends the transmission.

Imperial guard telepath Oracle carefully addresses Vulcan, stating there has been another attack… He wants her dead! Vulcan shouts not much later, entering the bridge. He wants Rachel Grey dead! He wants Lilandra dead!

Oracle cautiously reminds him that he has assigned the fleet’s resources to the great expansion. He has put the Imperial Guard on the frontline. The Death Commandoes. The Phoenix has killed several of them already while hunting her.

Fine, he replies impatiently. The Guard can’t do it? He’ll make a new Guard. One that knows how to kill. They are at a prison, right? He’ll send criminals after the Starjammers, They’ll be his Imperial Guard. He wants to see a list of prisoners! Oracle and Nightside look at each other in disbelief.

In Havok’s cell, a slit at the bottom of the door is opened as his tray of (unappealing looking) food is shoved through. That small moment allows Alex to absorb a little bit of cosmic energy. He looks at the energy sparkling from his hand…

Characters Involved: 

Ch’od, Havok, Korvus, Lilandra, Marvel Girl III, Polaris, Raza (all Starjammers)

Cr’reee, Sikorsky (Starjammer allies)



Admiral Ka’ardum

Shi’ar medics, soldiers, wardens & guards

Oracle, Nightside (members of the Imperial Guard)


Rigelian Ambassador, Kree ambassador and other alien ambassadors

Story Notes: 

This continues the story from the Emperor Vulcan limited series.

The Z’nox were introduced as a powerful, aggressive alien race in X-Men (1st series) #65.

The Annhiliation Wave was a massive insectoid military force in the Annihilation crossover.

The Kree / Shi’ar war refers to the Operation: Galactic Storm storyline.

Vulcan’s visited Havok in X-Men: Divided We Stand #2.

Vulcan killed his father Corsair in Uncanny X-Men #486.

Polaris lost her powers in the wake of M-Day. They were restored by Apocalypse. Her immunity to the sedative may derive from the fact that she filled the role of Apocalypse’s horseman Pestilence.

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