X-Men: Red (1st series) #4

Issue Date: 
July 2018
Story Title: 
The Hate Machine – part 4: Small Problem

Tom Taylor (writer), Mahmud Asrar (artist), Rain Beredo (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Travis Charest (main cover artist), Dan Mora & Marci Menyz (New Mutants variant cover), Travis Charest and Tamra Bonvillain (headshot variant artists),  Brent Schonoover (Deadpool variant), Jay Bowen, Anthony Gambino & Carlos Lad (graphic designers), Chrstina Harrington & Annalise Bissa (assistant editors), Mark Paniccia & Jordan D. White (editors), 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: 

Close to Wakanda, the brainwashed Storm faces Jean’s team in the air, throwing lightning at them. Jean has them fake their death and sends the others to Wakanda to help the mutants there, while she faces Storm. Storm attacks Wakandan mutants, like Gentle, when Jean faces her and takes her down. On the ground, Storm is disgusted by her own mutation and tries to kill herself with lightning, but Gentle protects her with his body. With the Black Panther’s help, Jean and Trinary examine Storm and find a nanite in her brain that basically transform her into a living Sentinel. Working in tandem, they manage to extract the “Sentinite,” as Trinary christens it. A little later, Jean’s team moves into a new underwater HQ given to them by King Namor. Storm, Gentle and a reluctant Namor join Jean’s team and they are all outfitted with new uniforms created by Trinary to act as firewall against the sentinintes. In the meantime, Cassandra Nova meets with world leaders and shows them her sentininites created by a brainwashed Forge.

Full Summary: 

Jean and her team are being transported to Wakanda via the Sentinel Trinary controls. However, outside Wakanda, they are stopped by a bad weather front and hit by lightning, courtesy of Storm.

The Sentinel falls. Nightcrawler offers to teleport them to safety, but Jean tells him to let it fall and they end up in the ocean, protected by Jean’s telekinetic field. She senses that Storm is headed to Wakanda’s capital. Gentle is there, as well as other mutants. She’s going to wipe them out. Trinary announces the Sentinel is rebooting. She can use it to take Storm out. Jean forbids it and orders her to protect the Wakandan mutants on the ground. Jean flies ahead, vowing to take care of Storm.

In Wakanda, Gentle runs for his life, fleeing from Storm’s lightning. He is confronted by the Black Panther and asks him to stay away for his own safety. The Panther confronts his former wife, asking what this is. She uses her winds to push the Panther and his warriors aside, leaving only Gentle. At that moment, Jean reaches them. Storm calls her an abomination but Jean wryly replies that it’s good to see her, too.

The Sentinel lands in front of Gentle. Fearing the worst, he decides he is done running and gathers more strength, literally growing. Trinary peeks out of the Sentinel and assures him they are here to help!

In the sky, Jean telekinetically shields herself from Storm’s lightning. She cannot telepathically reach the thing causing her hatred, but she senses a suggestion. Someone told Storm to come to Wakanda. She can remove that suggestion. Jean strikes and Storm lands hard close to Nightcrawler and Wolverine.

Kurt is concerned and wants to reach her, though Laura holds him back. Mutation! Storm screams. It’s all around her. In her! She decides to destroy it all and causes lightning to strike them and herself.

The others dodge the attack and Gentle throws himself over Storm to protect her. Afterward, Laura hits her on the head to take her out. She’ll be fine, Laura assures a concerned Kurt. To this, Gabby adds that you don’t lose friends if they lose consciousness.

Meanwhile, Gentle still suffers from the attack and the Black Panther demands to know why Ororo attacked them. Jean quickly explains that wasn’t Ororo. They will explain but, for now, both Ororo and Nezhno need medical attention and they have to remove whatever’s in Storm’s mind.

The unconscious Storm lies on a high tech slab. The Panther stands by her side, clearly concerned. Jean asks if they are close. Hesitatingly, he replies they are again. They were married. Jean sighs; it’s amazing how much you miss when you are dead.

A holographic image of Storm’s brain shows a nanite sitting on her amygdala. Attempting to remove it surgically could be very dangerous, T’Challa warns. Trinary announces that she cannot control it, but she can turn it off permanently. Jean refuses. She wants to know what they are dealing with. She wants to examine it while it is functioning. She asks, how big T’Challa can make the brain scan.

The holo brain scan turns big enough to engulf them. Jean telepathically links with Trinary to sense the nanite in Storm and with T’Challa for his knowledge of the mind. She uses her telekinesis to pull out the nanite through the safe pathways of Storm’s brain.

A little later, Trinary has it as the X-Men, including a recovered Storm, have gathered. Trinary explains there is a there is a story that an analytics company worked out how to use people’s social media data against them. Playing to their biases and online habits. The accusation is the company was employed to swing world-changing votes in several countries, and they continue to do so. Essentially, they play on people’s fears. They implant distrust and hatred.

That’s what this is – she refers to the nanite – taken to the extreme. This isn’t remote persuasion. This is pure fear and hate directly wired into the brain. It’s called a Sentinite. Nanite Sentinels latched onto people’s amygdala, Jean continues. With the same mutant detection ability as previous Sentinel generations. Ordinary people turned into instant mutant haters and hunters, Laura muses.

Jean points out there is something more sinister. If those nanites enter a mutant brain, as they have seen with Ororo, they will attempt to take their own life. This could wipe out all of mutantkind. Jean announces there is a force out here. Someone who hates mutants. She sensed someone else in the ambassador’s mind before her brain was destroyed. She felt the same presence in a suggestion in Storm’s mind. It’s after Jean. She turns to T’Challa and warns him that if they stay here, Wakanda is threatened. They need to go somewhere else, somewhere where nothing can reach them. Frowning, T’Challa replies he can ensure nothing reaches them here. No, he can’t, Storm interjects. He can’t protect them from what’s in a person’s head. Jean thanks the Black Panther for all his help. But they need to go somewhere, where the can regroup and start fighting back.

Sometime later, Jean is walking an underwater complex, surrounded by ruins with King Namor, She asks him what those ruins are. Another civilization who thought they were fully in control of the world, until the waters rose and swallowed them whole, he replies dismissively. But their buildings were sound and the Atlanteans were able to supplement them with their own to keep them safe.

Laura and Gabby join them. Gabby enthuses she saw a mermaid. And Laura grins broadly as she admits it was pretty amazing. Seeing the girls’ enthusiasm, Jean smiles. Defensively, Laura points out being Wolverine doesn’t make her impervious to the wonder of a #(&% mermaid!

Jean thanks Namor and touches his arm. They can start here. He’s provided a sanctuary for his people. He corrects her that they are not his people. Jean laughs and points out he is a king and a mutant. She is not asking him to lead but they do need him beside them.

They need something else from him, Laura states. And what is that? he asks. They need him to put on some clothes! Gabby announces bluntly.

Namor is not happy about this, but the others point out living at the bottom of the ocean only protects them if the king of the ocean cannot be turned against them. Trinary adds that the nanites can’t get them down here, but still on the surface. She was able to work together with the Wakandans to create these suits, as everyone gets a new outfit. They will act as firewalls to the sentinites.

Gabby tells the glowering Namor not to worry. The sooner he helps them win this one, the sooner he can show off Abs-lantis again.

Gentle hesitatingly tells Jean he doesn’t belong here. His power is pretty useless. Jean assures him they can work on the psychic block against his powers. Nezhno just doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Nightcrawler chimes in that this is exactly why they want him on the team.

Jean turns to the team, telling them out there is someone who wants to wipe mutants out, but their foe has no idea what they are facing. They have a king and a goddess. Gabby coughs politely. They have a king and a goddess and a Gabby, Jean amends. Some people will try to tear them down, she tells Gentle, but they are the X-Men and they know there is a better way. They are going to change the world. Their new mutant nation starts here!

Meanwhile, Cassandra Nova is busy travelling around the world, meeting with world leaders, stoking the fears of mutant and, especially, of Jean Grey. They would not know if Grey and her zealots were standing right behind them, Cassandra threatens, but she would… with this. Forge walks in carrying a box. The chancellor begins to ask a question but Cassandra cuts him off. Yes, Forge is a mutant, but she has him under control. He is quite tame. He is livestock and she is only interested in what he can produce. He hands her the box, which she opens.

She continues that Forge has produced these sentinites. Her gift to the chancellor. This will allow him to detect mutants. The box is empty, causing one of the people to ask where they are. They are already installed, is Cassandra’s reply.

A moment later, the chancellor draws a gun at a guard. Mutant! he states. Abomination! He fires several times. Cassandra tells him it’s okay. They will get this cleaned up. Their children played together, the chancellor states in shock. She is sorry for the betrayal he must feel, she states. To have one of them infiltrate his life like this. But she ash given him his power back. And she has given the same gift to like-minded leaders. The mutants can never hide again, she announces.

Characters Involved: 

Gentle, Jean Grey, Honey Badger, Namor, Nightcrawler, Storm, Trinary, Wolverine II (Jean’s X-Men team)
Black Panther

Cassandra Nova


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