X-Men Legends (1st series) #2

Issue Date: 
May 2021
Story Title: 
The Burning Blood – part two: This Fouled Birth, this Scorched Earth

Fabian Nicieza (writer), Brett Booth (penciler), Adelso Corona (inker), Guru eFX (color), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Laure Amaro (assistant editor), Mark Basso (editor), Jordan D. White (senior editor), C.B. 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: 

Corsair just shot Adam X for a bounty but it turns out that Adam has been bio-engineered to protect important organs, meaning he is fine. Cyclops and Havok demand answers and, aboard the Starjammer, Corsair explains that Adam X is the result of a Shi’ar project mixing former Emperor D’ken’s DNA with that of their late mother, Katherine Summers. He is in fact their half-brother and both Erik the Red and the Shi’ar Empire are after him. Erik the Red keeps his hostages in the Blue Area on the Moon and demands Adam. The heroes decide on a plan. Corsair distracts Erik the Red, while the other Starjammers free the Summers grandparents. Cyclops, Havok and Adam X then attack the Claws and Adam takes them all out with his power. Corsair calls the Imperial Guard and Adam X finally has to confront Lilandra. He assures her he means no challenge to her rule and they arrive on the compromise that he will be allowed to live in peace, after Oracle makes everyone including himself forget about his precise origins. Afterwards, Adam is back on the Earth farm and offers his help to the ill owner. While not remembering his exact origin, for the first time in a long time he feels at peace.

Full Summary: 

Adam X lies on the ground, felled by Corsair’s shot. He’s dead! somebody shouts. Let’s hope so, Corsair replies coldly. Cyclops demands what he just did. Saved the lives of several trillion people, his father retorts. And as a bonus he is getting paid to do it. What did he say before he shot Adam? Corsair repeats “Say goodbye to your brother.” Technically he is their half-brother.

Havok shouts they needed Adam to save their grandparents. Corsair tells him to relax while helping up his partner Hepzibah. Imperium bounty on Adam says dead or alive. Erik the Red’s demands weren’t so specific.

Cyclops grabs him by the front of his outfit, shouting he killed him in cold blood. No, he didn’t, Adam groans. He is biogenetically engineered to handle a shot to the head. He has a healing factor? Scott asks as he helps him up. No, Adam replies, Corsair only shot a mass of arrector pili muscle fibers. He won’t be able to produce goosebumps for a few months, that’s all, he explains, as he takes a combative stance, ready to attack Corsair who asks if his organs are scrambled. Adam replies that they are exactly where they are meant to be. His brain is literally in one of his ass cheeks. Explains a lot, Corsair mutters. Adam challenges him to draw his gun again. Corsair refuses, since Adam would cut his hand off.

Cyclops gets between them and announces they have to talk this out like the incredibly dysfunctional family it seems they are.

A little later, they are on the Starjammer. Adam silently figures if a bounty has been put on his head by the Shi’ar Empire, it means that Lilandra and the Crystal Claws are trying to retrieve him. His existence has been confirmed to the ruling power and that very existence is a threat to them. So he has to prove to Lilandra that he is no threat while showing her that he could be.

Cyclops sighs that Professor X is going to kill them for leaving the Blackbird on the side of the road. Alex points out they locked the doors. They’ll be back before the state police can even write them a ticket.

Adam carefully ventures that he guesses they all have a lot of questions. He doesn’t, Corsair replies belligerently. Cyclops suggests they address the elephant in the room. Adam explains he only recently learned about the circumstances of his birth and much of that information was incomplete.

Corsair adds that Adam was part of Emperor D’ ken’s eugenics program - merging Shi’ar DNA with that of other species, in search of a way to advance the deteriorating evolution of the Shi’ar. Before D’ken killed their mother, he culled DNA samples from her.

Alex hugs Adam, announcing that makes him his little brother. Finally, he isn’t the youngest anymore. Corsair steps between them and reminds Alex he also has too much of D’ken for his liking…

Angrily, Adam grabs him by the front of his shirt and shouts he didn’t ask for any of this. Calming down, he insists he had nothing to do with any of this. He was told that, after D’ken’s reign fell into ruins, his followers destroyed all evidence of his immoral activities. The surviving remnants of D’ken’s elite guard, the J’atchhe, rescued Adam from the lab before his time of hatching. They lived in peace on an outback farming planet name Ch’reeshaara until the Crystal Claw sect found him.

Corsair adds that D’ken’s followers had gone into hiding, but over twenty years their number grew. Adam adds they said the Forsaken One would help them reclaim the throne. The man who raised him, Jonath, rejected their demands. Shakari responded by releasing toxin all over the world. They only had one skimmer that could withstand travel through a stargate. They sent Adam away while all the others died.

Adam addresses Corsair. He meant no offense to him but, though his mate meant so much to all of them, Adam has no emotional connection to her… or the father who means nothing to him.

Cyclops recalls Mr. Sinister taunted him about his brothers in the plural. Corsair fears there could be more, while Alex preens that he now has a little brother to boss around.

In the meantime, the Starjammer is in lunar orbit, about to reach the Blue Area. Cyclops explains that the air is breathable there, but he thinks Erik chose that area because of the X-Men history there, hoping to unnerve them. Here they fought the Imperial Guard for the life of Phoenix and lost.

Havok contacts the Inhumans to inform them about things going on in their backyard. They offer help but he asks them to stay out of Shi’ar politics.

Outside the ship, they find Shakari and his Crystal Claws waiting for them. Corsair remarks, if he hands over Adam X, he will lose his bounty. Shakari smirks that helping put Adam on the throne might mean great opportunities for those loyal to the cause. Corsair starts monologuing about the bad sides of civil war until Raza informs him the targets have been rescued. He was running out of material, Corsair replies.

Cyclops, Havok and a reluctant Adam attack the Crystal Claws, a plan Adam dislikes, as he would have to become everything he was born and bred for. The last sad hope for Shi’ar evolution. While he keeps the Crystal Claws busy, Cyclops and Havok tag team Erik the Red.

Int meantime, Adam easily ignites the electrolytes in the Claws’ exposed blood, aware that what he is doing to a few now, he could do from orbit to a billion. He does the same to Erik the Red, taking out all their foes, leaving his brothers suitably impressed. The Starjammers with the freed Summers grandparents join them. As the others are having their reunion, Adam feels he has no part in this.

Philip Summers recognizes him. He keeps getting him in sticky wickets. Adam tells him it is good to see him safe. Cyclops announces they can keep Shakari and the Claws in stasis and turn them over to the Shi’ar but what about Adam? Corsair replies that he set up a contingency plan in case this sent sideways. He sends out an alert and, a moment later, the Imperial Guard appears.

Cyclops gets in front of Adam, announcing he doesn’t want to fight them here again, but they will protect their brother. Adam tells him he appreciates that, but he is done running and fighting. What does he propose then? Gladiator asks.

Sometime later on Chandilar, Adam gives his idea to Empress Lilandra. She asks him if he is sure. He isn’t, but it is the only way he sees to spare the empire from a bloody civil war and to keep his head on his shoulders. Lilandra calls him problematic but admits he has done nothing to threaten her throne. He deserves a right to peace. She grants his request.

Later, aboard a Shi’ar dreadnought, Cyclops rages that it isn’t fair. Adam reminds him they discussed this on their way to Chandilar; it is the only way. Alex opines they could fight their way out. Ogling Gladiator, Adam disagrees. Gladiator announces they have reached Earth orbit.

The plan is for the Guardians’ telepath Oracle to make them all forget about Adam’s identity. She explains that she will leave fragments in their memories, enough to recall contact but not context.

Alex takes Adam’s hand, telling him it was pretty cool to have a little brother to boss around, even if only for a few hours. Even if it was only in his imagination, Adam grins. Scott awkwardly hugs Adam, telling him they should have been family. They are, Adam replies, even if they won’t remember.

Then Oracle reaches into all their minds, as she already did with Erik the Red and the Crystal Claws. Everyone has to forget who Adam X really is and, maybe by forgetting, he can find out who he should be.

Adam is returned to Earth, to the farm where his adventure started, not remembering, with a headache but feeling right.

He finds Jimmy again in the field and realizes his father never came because he can’t. Jimmy explains he hurt his back some time ago. Adam offers himself as a fieldhand and helps Jimmy fix the tractor. Jimmy asks for his last name. Neramani, Adam replies. Is that Italian? he asks Adam has no idea but, for the first time, he feels he can finally live without feeling someone is looking over his shoulder.

He is unaware that someone is looking over his shoulder, namely Mr. Sinister, who may or may not be watched by Erik the Red in return…

Characters Involved: 

Adam X
Cyclops (X-Man)
Havok (X-Factor)

Ch’od, Corsair, Hepzibah, Raza (Starjammers)

Deborah and Philip Summers
Astra, Earthquake, Electron, Fang, Flashfire, Gladiator, Hussar, Impulse, Magique, Manta, Mentor, Neutron, Oracle, Scintilla, Smasher, Starbolt (Imperial Guard)

Erik the Red II
Crystal Claws

Mr. Sinister

Story Notes: 

The story takes place after X-Men (2nd series) #39.

"Arrector pili" muscles are small muscles attached to hair follicles in mammals.

Written By: