X-Men: Red (2nd series) #12

Issue Date: 
August 2023
Story Title: 
Storm Warning

Al Ewing (writer), Stefano Caselli & Jacopo Gamagni (artists), Federico Blee (color), VC’s Ariana Maher (letterer and production), Tom Muller (design), Russell Dautermann (cover artist),) Taurin Clarke, Ivan Shavrin (variant covers), VC’s Clayton Cowles (production), Laure Amara (associate editor), Jordan D. White (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: 

Jon Ironfire has been taken to the Brotherhood of Arakko and relays to them how, besieged by the forces of Genesis, the White Sword freed his best friend Jon Ironfire from his thrall and ordered him to take the sword Purity to Arakko and warn them of Genesis coming. The White Sword and the rest of his Hundred then faced Genesis and her army. Hearing that story, the Brotherhood decides to take this to the Great Ring. Ironfire bristles at their slowness and gets into an argument with the Fisher King, which Storm ends. Nevertheless, Ironfire stresses they are running out of time. Elsewhere on Arakko, a gate grows and Genesis walks through it. She has a brief discussion with Marianne Stern of Coven Akkaba, who has already informed her of the goings-on on Arakko.

Full Summary: 

Then, Amenth, the Ivory Spire:
Sitting on his throne, the White Sword announces that Genesis is coming. And not as she has come before. In times past, she came in the name of Arakko that held their rear and fought the leavings of the White Sword and his Hundred. He recalls how, centuries late, Genesis arrived with her armies, resplendent in their arrogance, and his Hundred showed their guests their most gracious hospitality – handing out steaming cups of their own traitorous blood. When she came again, in thrall to the Dmon Helm, backed by the daemon forces, the result was the same.

But the helm is now the staff, and the staff is not the helm. Saturnyne plays her games on many levels - and petty vengeance is one of them. Any gift she gives has a curse upon it. And in Genesis’s hands, the curse has come for them.

The young-looking man with horns he is addressing protests that it still seems impossible. Possession is one thing, but to think that one born of Okkara would ally with Annih…

The White Sword cuts him off and orders him not to say the name. The staff is not the helm, he repeats. Its power is insidious and its reach is long. To speak its name when it is close to them could give it claim on their souls. Not on his soul, the other man laughs. Even his, the White Sword corrects him with a smile and calls him “old friend.” Even though it has been pledged to the White Sword for millennia. Though he was first to fall and rise, Jon Ironfire.

Jon Ironfire simply replies, his life came from the White Sword. His life is for him. Say the word and he will spend it again, cleaving that stick of gold in two.

He has died for him too often, the White Sword replies. He asks more of him now. He asks Jon to survive. He gives Jon the sword Purity and orders him to bring word to Arakko: tell them all, especially the Seat of Loss…

Jon refuses to leave him. The White Sword touches him. As his eyes glow, he releases Jon from his obligations. For Jon, it’s like waking from a dream. He no longer calls the White Sword “general.” Addressing him as “Blue,” he tells him he got old. The White Sword touches his shoulder and Jon lays his arm on his friend’s. The White Sword tells him, now he will get to see what it is like. He has kept Jon alive as long as he could, but now the bond is broken, he cannot heal him anymore if Jon dies again.

They are interrupted by another of the Hundred, who announces that Genesis is not coming - she is here (as well as a giant army)!

Outside on the fortress’ battlements, several of the White Sword’s Hundred look down on the army. One of them, Anika wonders why they snuck up on them. Why this change in tactics after centuries? A man with an energy bow replies that they used to be the obstacle. Now they are the prize. He loosens his energy arrows at the enemies, felling a Summoner atop a tentacled monstrosity.

The Apocalyptic Horseman War is displeased at the death of the Summoner. She asks her three siblings, who shall answer. Death, returned from Sevalith but now a vampire, mutters the hunger is upon him. His sister Pestilence promises him he will have a hundred feasts, each one ever-replenishing, once Mother’s work is done. Famine is impatient about that. The Spire is impregnable, and he is not willing to wait.

Pestilence speeds matters along by loosening one of her sickness-causing arrows in response to the attack.

Tarius is hit in the chest and a black infection immediately spreads. He touches Anika and the plague infects her. Another soldier shouts to get the general. The two-headed Rukos forbids it. He has to stay inside, protected by the Spire. If the enemy reaches him, all is lost!

Not all, the White Sword corrects him as he steps out. Honor is not lost. As it would be if he let his troops suffer agonies for his own comfort. He tells Rukos he has served him well, and so he won’t strike his head off for showing fear. With his touch, he heals Tarius.

A voice demands where his sword is. It is Genesis, riding a dragon. With a grin, he shoots back, asking where her husband is.

Anika calls her “traitor queen” and fires an energy spike at them. Unimpressed, War returns the attack with actual fire.

Genesis repeats her question. Where is the sword Purity that cleaves through everything? If he has it, hold it high. Even with all the power at her command, he’d still have a chance. A chance for what – to hold her at bay? he asks. To hide in the Spire, forcing her to come to them like a coward? She should know by now he’d never stoop to her tactics.

Eyes aglow, she notes his insult. But if insults are all he has, the time has come for him to acknowledge her rule. She holds up the Annihilation Staff. Arakko calls for him and she will not take ‘no’ for an answer, Genesis warns.

The Staff whispers and eventually the White Sword and his Hundred bow to their queen. All save the one he loved best, Jon Ironfire, whom he had sent away with the sword Purity.

Arakko, The Red Lagoon, current HQ of the Brotherhood of Arakko:
Ironfire narrates how he made his way to Dryador, to Blightspoke and how he used Purity to cut a way to here, to them.

The Fisher King announces that Roberto was right to bring this to the Night Seats. But this is bigger, he suggests to Storm. This is a matter for the Great Ring. She agrees, they must convene and discuss the response…

Ironfire interrupts angrily, wanting more than a discussion. There is only one response: Gather the troops! Khora carefully agrees. If they face Annihilation, time is of the essence.

No thrones on Arakko, Fisher King reminds her. No generals either. They are a planet of survivors, trying to heal, not a hundred soldiers fighting under one iron fist…

What does he know of the Hundred or of healing? Ironfire bristles. He fell dead in their greatest healer’s arms, and he was healed and healed and healed, and woke, still young, in a fight eons old – to watch it lost. To watch him lost! Where was he? he demands of the Fisher King. Not there, Fisher King agrees. But somewhere. And maybe he will teach Ironfire how he fought. If he wants to test his fancy weapons against his bare hands…

Storm interrupts angrily, her powers shattering the window. They all have pains, she reminds Ironfire. They all have the right to speak it aloud and have it heard. But it demeans that pain to reduce it to a contest. She chides the Fisher King, having expected better of him. Fisher admits Ironfire reminds him of himself. Makes it hard to keep his temper watching him ready to make his old mistakes…

Ironfire apologizes. He admits that warriors at rest have still known war. Everyone in this room has been steeped in despair and death…

Well, personally he wouldn’t say “steeped,” Nova protests weakly. Roberto whispers he is a little steeped. Richard has at least been dunked once or twice. Kind of a death donut. A what? Nova asks.

Ironfire continues that there is no time. Genesis has the Annihilation Staff in her hands and darkness in her heart, and she is coming! When she arrives, it will already be too late!

On Arakko Prime, a gate grows and as Genesis steps through. A voice announces that there was no Krakoan gate planted here, no life in the soil at all. The entrails said Genesis would arrive at this place and time but wasn’t specifying this method. An evolution of mutant technology, Genesis explains, the secrets of the Okkara Gate are hers to keep. But, it is as the other woman said, now and when they last met. The living island Arakko is a blasted plain, barely alive and marked with the bones of their dead, because Genesis was not here to prevent it!

The other woman asks if she is disappointed. Genesis replies that she is glad. It would be terrible indeed if she had done what she had done on the strength of a lie… and more terrible for the other woman.

Marianne Stern smiles. She’d still get what they both want: war. She thinks she wants a war with Arakko? Genesis smiles, telling her this is almost precious. She has lit a flame that may consume this world. Does Coven Akkaba believe that fire won’t spread?

The magical projection of Marianne Stern bows respectfully and assures Genensis that in this Coven Akkaba speaks for Orchis. And they are counting on it…

Characters Involved: 

Fisher King, Khora of the Burning Heart, Nova, Storm, Sunspot (Brotherhood of Arakko)
Jon Ironfire

Genesis III
Marianne Stern

Flashback / Jon Ironfire’s narration:
The White Sword
Jon Ironfire
Anika, Rukos, Tarius and other members of the Hundred

Genesis III
Death, Famine, Pestilence, War (Horsemen of the Apocalypse)
Daemons, Summoners and other forces of Amenth

Story Notes: 

The backstory to this and how Genesis got to Arakko is told in X-Men: Before the Fall – Heralds of Apocalypse

War dislikes harm coming to Summoners as her late son was one of them.

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