Fighting (for) the Shi'ar Empire
Team Appearances: Classic X-Men #15 backstory, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #391, X-Men (1st series) #104, Classic X-Men #14, X-Men (1st series) #107-108, Classic X-Men #15, X-Men (1st series) #108, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #154-159, 161, 163, 166, Excalibur (1st series) #116, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #167, Special Edition X-Men #1, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #174-175, 177, New Mutants (1st series) #19, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #200-201, 203, New Mutants (1st series) #50-51, X-Men: Spotlight on ... Starjammers #1-2, Excalibur (1st series) #17, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #275-277, Wonder Man #8, Avengers (1st series) #350-351, Excalibur (1st series) #68-70, Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #415-416, X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #32, Starjammers #1-4, Wolverine (2nd series) #135-138, Galactus the Devourer #5-6, Deadpool (2nd series) #43, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #387, Starjammers (2nd series) #1-6, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #482, 484-486, X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #1-5, X-Men: Divided We Stand #2, X-Men: Kingbreaker #1-4, War of Kings #1-2, Guardians of the Galaxy (2nd series) #13, War of Kings #3-4, War of Kings: Ascension #3-4, War of Kings #5-6, War of Kings: Who Will Rule, Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1-5
Before Roughly twenty years in the past, the Summers family was flying back from vacationing in Alaska. Suddenly, the plane was attacked by a Shi’ar scout craft that feared exposure. Katherine put Scott and Alex in the only parachute and threw them out of the plane, and shortly afterwards she and her husband Chris were beamed aboard the Shi’ar ship. It was a zoological scouting mission intended to bring in specimens. Emperor D’Ken was quite fond of Kate and forced her to serve as his pleasure maid, while Christopher was sent to the slave pits. After an unknown amount of time, Chris escaped and stormed into the palace where he tried to kill D’Ken, only to be captured. As punishment, the Shi’ar emperor killed Katherine right in front of his eyes. D’Ken then pulled Chris and Kate’s unborn son from within her belly and showed his lifeless body to Christopher as well. With his will broken, Christopher Summers was sent to a mining prison colony. [Classic X-Men #15 backstory, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #154, 156, X-Men: Deadly Genesis #6]
Chronology Christopher Summers was working in the mines when he suddenly ran into a female, catlike being hunted by the guards. She was captured and beaten, prompting Chris to speak up on her behalf, until he too was struck down a neurowhip. Summers stopped resisting and did not intervene as the guards carried their captive away. Ashamed, Chris cowered in a corner, until he was approached by a reptilian alien and a cyborg. They introduced themselves as Ch’od and Raza, searching for their friend Hepzibah, but Summers was too frightened to answer. After they departed, Christopher realized how low he had fallen and decided to help. He approached the guards’ quarters, where Hepzibah was being tortured, and stabbed one of the guards with a blade made of crystal. The other guards fought back against Christopher as Raza and Ch’od came to join in the battle. Chris Summers freed Hepzibah from her shackles, but was surprised when she bit him, in order to lick his blood. Hepzibah explained that she established a lifebond of blood and that they were now comrades till death. After defeating the guards, the three aliens explained that they have been fighting and evading the guards for some time. They needed to escape from the prison world, but none of them knew how to fly a ship. Summers, a former air force pilot, joined the group under his old military nickname, Corsair. [Classic X-Men #15 backstory]
- The team acquired a spaceship and escaped from the prison colony. Over the years, they established themselves as the Starjammers, a well known group of space pirates. One of their earliest adventures searching for food supplies on a water planet was shown in a flashback of Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #391.
Chronology continued Somehow, the Starjammers learned of Shi’ar Emperor D’Ken tampering with the M’Kraan crystal, a nexus of all realities. Aboard the Starjammer, Ch’od and Corsair observed the nine fabled stars shifting into their key formation and they worriedly mused that if Emperor D’Ken continued with his plans, everything they knew would cease to be. Soon thereafter, the X-Men had followed the kidnapped Princess Lilandra through a stargate and arrived in front of the imposing M’Kraan Crystal. Surrounded by the Shi'ar Imperial Guard, a fight broke out as D'Ken ordered Lilandra's death. Completely outnumbered, the X-Men still held their own for a while, but the Imperial Guard soon gained the upper hand. The Starjammers witnessed the fight from their vessel in orbit and swooped in to join the battle. Thanks to the reinforcements, the tide turned and soon the Imperial Guard lay defeated.
As the X-Men and the Starjammers introduced themselves, Phoenix performed a quick mind scan of the curiously American-sounding pirate captain, and discovered Corsair was Cyclops' father. While the two teams fought the guardians of the M‘Kraan Crystal, Raza took a hold of D'Ken and threw him into the crystal, with the rest soon following. Once inside the crystal, Phoenix learned that she had to repair the energy matrix within it to preserve the universe. Needing human lifeforces to anchor herself to her physical body, and with most of the X-Men incapacitated, Jean asked Storm and Corsair for help. Jean called Corsair by his real name, Christopher Summers, and also told him that Cyclops is one of his long lost sons. With the crystal healed everything returned to normal, only D’Ken was left catatonic and insane after exposure to the crystal’s natural defenses. By right of succession, the throne would therefore fall to Lilandra. [X-Men (1st series) #104, 107-108, Classic X-Men #14-15]
Phoenix and Storm privately discussed the fact that Corsair was Scott’s father. Jean promised Corsair to keep it secret, but Storm questioned if it was the right decision. [X-Men (1st series) #109] Many months later, Corsair returned to Earth, being pursued by a Shi'ar Dreadnought. Just as he reached Earth, his craft was hit by torpedoes and Corsair crash-landed the spaceship into Breakstone Lake, where Storm and Cyclops rescued him. Corsair revealed himself as Scott’s father, which Cyclops initially refused to believe until Storm confirmed it. Before they could speak further, Sidrian Hunters attacked the trio. Corsair eventually explained that the Starjammers were implicated in the kidnapping of Lilandra. The trail of the terrorists who were really responsible led straight to Earth and the Shi'ar were prepared to go to any lengths to rescue her, even if it meant destroying Earth. The heroes were given just 24 hours to return Princess Lilandra before the Shi’ar took their own action. In the midst of clearing the Starjammers’ name and battling Deathbird and the Brood, Corsair and Cyclops were forced to get to know each other. Although Cyclops was initially resentful of his father for “leaving him behind to go play pirate,” they eventually came to terms and started a genuine relationship. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #154-155]
During their struggle with Deathbird, the X-Man Colossus was impaled on a spear. The Starjammer arrived and beamed Corsair and the X-Men aboard. Colossus was put into a life support module as Sikorsky, the group's medic, tried to save his life. As the Starjammers and X-Men pursued Deathbird, Corsair explained to Scott all that had happened to him since the abduction twenty years ago. After catching up with Deathbird's ship, they were confronted by the Brood’s giant, living ship, the Acanti, which simply swallowed the Starjammer whole. Inside, the Starjammers and the X-Men engaged the Brood while Corsair and Cyclops snuck away to rescue Professor Xavier and Lilandra. Once they succeeded, father and son rejoined the others and headed back to the Starjammer. Although they managed to escape the Acanti, Waldo – the ship’s artificial intelligence – informed everyone it would take 24 hours to repair the ship and return to Earth, but they had only six hours left on their deadline. Hoping to save time, the Starjammers and the X-Men worked on the repairs to their ship instead of leaving it to the ship’s robots.
During the work, Colossus had a relapse from his earlier injuries and Sikorsky had to perform an emergency operation to stop Piotr’s internal bleeding. Lilandra tried to contact the Shi'ar chancellor but contact was broken off and the signal jammed. Professor X tried to mentally alert Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde on the Shi'ar command ship, but sensed an anomaly within himself and began probing it instead. All of a sudden, Xavier fell into a coma and had to be placed in Sikorsky’s care. As the deadline arrived, Lord Samédàr ordered the Shi'ar to fire a plasma blast at the Earth. At the last minute the Starjammer arrived and intercepted the blast, whereupon Lilandra was finally able to make contact and call off the attack. Colossus was fully healed thanks to Sikorsky, but the tiny medic reported he was unable to help Xavier, who was reduced as a mindless vegetable. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #156-157]
On the X-Men’s temporary base in the Bermuda Triangle, Ch’od, Raza and Hepzibah dueled with the X-Men’s friend, Carol Danvers, who had recently been rendered powerless. Despite the odds, Carol Danvers held her own and only lost due to their combined efforts. Peter Corbeau had been monitoring Carol’s performance and, according to his equipment, although she lost her Ms. Marvel powers, her genetic material remained the same, making her physically superior to a normal human. Meanwhile, Cyclops and Corsair visited Alex Summers in New Mexico for a family reunion. They discussed whether Scott and Alex would join Corsair in space when the Starjammers ultimately returned to the stars. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #158-159]
Sikorsky continued monitoring the catatonic Xavier at the Bermuda Triangle base, but there was no change in his condition. Later, Xavier inexplicably awakened from his coma, seemingly no worse the wear. Even though she wanted to stay with him, duty called Lilandra back to her people. A departing banquet was planned for Lilandra on board her new vessel and the Starjammers transported the X-Men to the ship for the festivities. Corsair indicated they would not be joining the banquet, however, as the Starjammers carried too many grudges against the Shi’ar. During the festivities, the X-Men, Carol Danvers and Lilandra were attacked and captured by Deathbird and the Brood. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #161]
Hearing about the capture, Corsair and the Starjammers departed Earth to search for Lilandra and the X-Men as they were taken into Brood space. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #163] The Starjammers arrived just in time to witness the X-Men – with the help of Carol Danvers as the newly-empowered Binary and an alien race called the Acanti – defeat the Brood Queen on her homeworld. The Starjammers beamed the X-Men aboard their ship right as the Brood planet was destroyed. Sikorsky checked them in the medical bay and gave them a clean bill of health. Although the Acanti successfully purged their bodies of Brood elements, the heroes learned that Xavier too had been infected and was still active on Earth! [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #166]
On route back from Brood space, the X-Men and Starjammers recognized an injured Sidri colony drifting helplessly in space. Despite the imminent danger to Professor X, the X-Men wanted to stop and help, but Corsair objected, ordering his ship to pass them by without stopping. He reasoned that the Starjammers had dealt with the Sidri more than once and knew the aliens to be dangerous opponents, whatever their current condition. Nevertheless, Kitty Pride and Nightcrawler secretly entered the medilab and launched a probe with what they believed to be a revitalizing serum. [Excalibur (1st series) #116]
The X-Men arrived back on Earth and stormed into the mansion, where they confronted Xavier’s new group of mutant students, the New Mutants. During the misunderstanding and battle that followed, Xavier fully transformed into a young Brood Queen. Both mutant teams combined their efforts and contained the nascent Brood. The shock of being defeated enabled Xavier’s personality to temporarily gain dominance again. Aboard the Starjammer, Sikorsky cloned Xavier’s body and transferred his consciousness into the healthy, Brood-free duplicate. Meanwhile, Corsair offered to arrange a meeting with Scott and his grandparents. The Starjammers also welcomed Gladiator, who informed Lilandra of Deathbird’s successful usurpation of the Shi’ar throne in her absence. Perturbed, Lilandra still announced that her first priority at the moment was to watch over her lover’s recovery. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #167]
- The team remained in Earth’s orbit for some time, so that Corsair had the chance to spend some time with his two sons and arrange a meeting with their grandparents in Alaska. They were picked up by a charter pilot named Madelyne Pryor, who looked exactly like the deceased Jean Grey. Scott and Madelyne soon began a relationship and she joined the three Summers men when they traveled to Wolverine’s wedding in Japan, only to see Mariko call off the ceremony. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #168, 173]
- Lilandra helped Xavier with his recovery and was happy to see his legs getting stronger day by day. However, she worried about her empire now that it was in Deathbird’s hands.
- Carol Danvers remained close to the X-Men and Starjammers as she adjusted to her newfound powers as Binary. For a time, it seemed that she would stay at Xavier’s mansion, though Carol felt that she did not belong on Earth anymore. She was constantly reminded of the things she lost when Rogue absorbed her powers and personality. Even though Xavier had restored Carol’s memories, the emotional ties were missing. This became painfully clear when Carol was informed of Captain Mar-Vell’s death, but could not grief as she felt nothing. When Rogue asked for Xavier’s help, and she was granted leave to stay at the mansion, Binary refused to remain among the X-Men. She left for good after a short fight with the former villainess. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #164, Marvel Fanfare #24, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #171]
Chronology continued Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor watched an “Earthrise” from the bridge of the Starjammer. As Corsair and Hepzibah interrupted them, Hepzibah commented on how alike Corsair and Cyclops were before Corsair gave Madelyne a tour of the ship. He introduced her to the crew and the newest member of the Starjammers, Binary. Cyclops and Binary conversed about her argument with the X-Men for taking Rogue in and her new desire to roam the galaxies. Corsair asked Scott to come with them, but he was still undecided. On Earth, Lilandra informed Xavier she would have to return to her empire soon and wrest the throne from Deathbird. She wanted him to accompany her, but Xavier still saw his main duty to be around for his students. Corsair attended the wedding of Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor, and mused that Scott's mother should have been there to see it. Binary was among the guests in attendance, while the rest of the Starjammers watched from their ship. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #174-175]
Following the ceremony, the Starjammers departed to fight the Shi’ar Empire under Deathbird’s rule. Corsair wished his two sons Alex and Scott goodbye, and Lilandra and Xavier reluctantly parted ways. All were afraid it would be the last time they saw each other, for the Starjammers faced overwhelming odds against the Shi’ar. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #177]
En route to Earth, the Technarch named Warlock passed by the Starjammer. The crew read the alien with their scanners and also registered that he was being followed by a larger and more powerful version of himself (Magus). Waldo calculated that their course would bring them to Earth, but their tremendous velocities meant there was nothing the Starjammers could do in time to warn the planet. [New Mutants (1st series) #19]
Some weeks later, Lilandra sensed from afar that Xavier was in grave danger, having overstrained himself after recent injuries to the point of dying. Corsair and Lilandra used a stargate to teleport to the mansion, only to find Madelyne alone who told them the X-Men were in Paris. The two Starjammers transported back to the planetoid with the stargate, recalibrating it with the new coordinates. As Raza and Ch’od remarked how impressive it was that Binary could power up the stargate with her energies alone, Hepzibah and Sikorsky reported from the ship that they were under attack by Shi’ar crafts, and time was short. Lilandra and Corsair next arrived in Paris, where Magneto was caring for the dying Xavier. After the master of magnetism accepted Xavier’s responsibilities to become the school’s headmaster, Charles was beamed away with his saviors. Sikorsky diagnosed the professor’s condition as an easy fix for his skills, but the Starjammers were still in dire straits. Damaged as their ship was in fending off the Shi’ar, they could not use faster than light travel, or fight their way through a guarded stargate. This meant there was no way to return Xavier to Earth, making him a permanent part of the Starjammers alongside his true love, Lilandra. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #200-201]
At a bar on a neutral fringeworld, Corsair and Binary were trying to bargain for supplies and needed components to repair their ship, while Xavier and Lilandra had a drink. Suddenly, Xavier detected a familiar thought pattern and ran outside to witness a slave auction. On the podium, he recognized his student Illyana Rasputin about to be sold. Charles demanded her freedom and soon a fight broke out. Binary and Corsair joined in, blowing their cover and forcing them to leave the planet with Illyana and without their supplies. After waking up on the Starjammer, Illyana explained that the New Mutants were attacked by the Magus, Warlock’s father, and to save them she tried to teleport her team away, though they got lost in some alternate futures. [New Mutants (1st series) #48-49] With Xavier telepathically helping Illyana to control her teleportation disks, they rescued the other New Mutants. The Starjammers helped the students fight the Magus, who tracked them as they regrouped. In the end, Xavier assured the battle’s victory, as he supported the individual mutant powers of the students and inspired Warlock and Cypher to develop a techno-organic genetic virus that dealt with the Magus, altering his “code” and reducing him to an infantile, dormant state. [New Mutants (1st series) #50]
After the battle, the Starjammers inspected their ship and concluded they would not last another fight if they couldn’t get the needed spare parts for repairs first. At the same time Xavier, monitored by Lilandra and Sikorsky, psi-probed the New Mutants to learn about all the events in his absence. Seeing their memories of the recent attacks on mutants and his original students as the anti-mutant organization X-Factor, Charles decided he must return to Earth with his students. Suddenly, several approaching vessels attacked the Starjammers. With so many systems inoperable, the Starjammer only avoided further damage thanks to Xavier mentally reading their opponents and where they would shoot next. Unable to return to Earth because abandoning the Starjammers would mean their certain death, Xavier made his choice and ordered the New Mutants to teleport home through Limbo without him, getting them out of harm’s way. [New Mutants (1st series) #51]
Xavier linked up with the ship and mentally enforced the shields, but after the vessel was hit various times, Charles experienced some energy feedback and was taken to the medical bay. Meanwhile, the Starjammers learned from their attackers that Shi’ar Empress Deathbird was trying to find the “Phalkon,” a legendary force of power; knowing that this would end their rebellion, they attempted to beat her to it. The Starjammers split up and uncovered parts of a Phalkon map on different planets. Remarkably, even Cr+eee lent his assistance as one pod was hidden on his native planet. Xavier’s mind merged with Waldo and he mentally guided the away teams, but the extended absence left his body weak until it ultimately died, sustained only through a stasis tube. Later, it became clear that the Phalkon was located on Earth, causing both Deathbird and the Starjammers to race there. Lilandra’s older sister arrived first and found the Phalkon to be nothing else than the Phoenix Force. She caught unaware the Force’s current host, Rachel Summers, and placed her in a power leeching machine as the Starjammers and Phoenix’s teammates in Excalibur arrived.
A misunderstanding led to a short battle between the hero teams, which stopped when they both found themselves under attack by the whole assembled Imperial Guard. During the fight, Deathbird tried to use her machine to drain Rachel’s power for herself but she was observed by Lilandra, who knocked her treacherous sister out. With the empress injured, Gladiator ordered the Guard to retreat and the fight ended as quickly as it started. After Rachel was freed from the leeching device, some residual energy of the Force was still inside. The Starjammers used it to revive Xavier’s body and also temporarily bestowed upon him some of its vast telekinetic ability. Dressed as Dark Phoenix, Xavier used this excessive force to inspire a rebellion on some planet that belonged to the Shi’ar Empire. During all these events, Binary grew more and more distant from her humanity, believing she was far more powerful than the rest of the group, much to her teammates’ ire. She killed a member of the Imperial Guard named Zenith, unaware that he was actually Raza’s long-lost brother. Raza was devastated to learn of Zenith’s death at Carol’s hands, because the blood rites of his people demanded vengeance on behalf of his family. [X-Men Spotlight on ... Starjammers #1-2]
- Soon enough, Binary’s growing arrogance and distance led to her departing the group. Ch‘od mentioned her departure in Wonder Man #8. How Raza resolved his feelings for Carol and the blood debt enacted by Zenith’s death is unknown. Carol was next seen during Operation: Galactic Storm, where she helped Quasar to cleanse Earth’s sun of dangerous anti-matter from the Negative Zone in Quasar #34. The incident caused her heavy burn injuries and she was taken home to Avengers Mansion to recover.
Chronology continued The war for the Shi’ar throne came to an end when the Starjammers and Lilandra, with the help of the X-Men, attacked and defeated Deathbird and her Imperial Guard. Following their victory, Lilandra was named Shi'ar Majestrix once again. Unfortunately, Xavier and the Starjammers had been replaced by a group of Warskrulls, trying to gain control of the Shi'ar Empire by telepathically controlling Lilandra as their puppet ruler. Upon learning this, the X-Men teamed up with the dethroned Deathbird to fight the imposter Starjammers. Finally, the real Xavier - who among other telepaths was being used as a power source for the Skrull's power-duplicating machine - freed himself and brought the fight to a swift conclusion. Deathbird was no longer interested in the boring duties of running the vast Shi’ar Empire and voluntarily relinquished any further claim to the throne for Lilandra. With the Starjammers freed and Lilandra entrenched in matters of state, Xavier accompanied his students back to Earth. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #275-277]
During the intergalactic war between the Kree and the Shi’ar codenamed Operation: Galactic Storm Lilandra employed the Starjammers to transport a “Nega-Portal” into their enemies’ galaxy. The travel route contained two stargates near Earth’s sun, causing Corsair to refuse the task because overuse of those stargates could cause the star to become unstable. Despite his reservations, however, the rest of the crew accepted the job. The Avengers were equally concerned about the stargates and had sent a delegation to the Shi’ar Empire to try and convince Lilandra to move them elsewhere. Vision and Wonder Man hid inside the “Nega-Portal” but, during the journey to Earth, they were detected by the Starjammers. A fight started, but was cut short when it became clear that the “portal” was actually a Nega-Bomb. The Starjammers were much more reluctant to be involved in delivering a doomsday device for the Shi’ar, but it was too late – the Starjammer was already in Earth space moving towards the second stargate. Their only solution to prevent the bomb from crossing the gate was to jettison it as the ship passed through, leaving it near Earth’s sun. The Skrulls, who had been manipulating the Kree and Shi’ar against each other, eventually recovered the Nega-Bomb and transported it to Kree space anyway, where it detonated, killing 90% of the Kree population. [Wonder Man #8]
Sometime later, Hepzibah and Raza were called to a secret meeting with a former Kree general. He wanted them to assassinate the Avenger known as the Black Knight, who had delivered the killing blow against the Supreme Intelligence during Operation: Galactic Storm and offered them two hundred million credits. Hepzibah was willing to accept, but Raza refused because of his sense of honor. The Kree then took a medallion out of his pocket, which Raza recognized as belonging to his long lost son, Rion. Raza had last seen him as a five year old, when they were both taken to the slave pits of the Shi’ar. In exchange for performing the kill, the Kree promised Raza safe return of his son. Later, back at the Starjammer, the pair suggested to Corsair a visit to Earth to check on their former teammate Binary. Ch’od claimed to know Raza’s true intention, but he was only joking as he assumed the cyborg still harbored a romantic interest in Carol Danvers. Reaching Avengers Mansion, the crew was surprised to find Xavier and Cyclops there too; they had been discussing the pending threat of Genosha with the Avengers.
During a party, Raza slipped away to attack the Black Knight, who was making repairs in the hangar. At first the two combatants were evenly matched, but Raza forced the Knight to drop his weapon by threatening to harm Crystal’s child, Luna, who had stumbled into the fray. Raza then stabbed the disarmed Knight in the gut. Others were drawn to the scene, leading Hercules and Thor to pick on Raza while Ch’od jumped in to help his teammate. When the outer wall of the building was breached, Raza fled and Ch’od followed, while the Avengers sought medical attention for the Black Knight. The Avengers selected a search squad for the two Starjammers, with Corsair and Binary wanting to be part of it too. In turn, Hepzibah offered to remain behind as collateral at Avengers Mansion until the situation was cleared up. As Raza and Ch’od were hunted down, Binary finally got through to Raza. He explained why he attempted to assassinate the Knight and showed Carol the medallion. Binary then suddenly melted the piece of jewelry and explained to the Avengers that she recognized the device as a Kree memory implant inducer and that Raza was not responsible for his actions.
Meanwhile, back at the mansion, Crystal summoned an Inhuman doctor and, with the help of Sikorsky, they saved the Black Knight‘s life. Later, Hepzibah entered the sickbay alone and attempted to earn her cash by poisoning the Black Knight. However, before she could perform the crime, the others returned with Raza. Both teams thanked Binary for her diplomacy and offered her opportunities to rejoin, but she declined both Corsair and the Avengers. Instead, she decided to rediscover her roots and visit her parents. Back on the Starjammer, Hepzibah privately mused to Raza that she must have been under the influence of the memory inducer too, but Raza coldly informed her there was no such device; Carol had invented the idea to protect Raza from the Avengers. And so, he remarked, Hepzibah’s greed and his shame were theirs, and theirs alone. [Avengers (1st series) #350-351]
Lilandra employed the Starjammers to capture one of the greatest criminals in Shi’ar history. As the group attacked Braddock Manor on Earth, Excalibur initially believed they were after Phoenix, but in fact the warrant was for the team’s newest member, Cerise. The team was ready to fight for her nonetheless, but Cerise agreed to accompany the Starjammers of her own free will. Despite her wishes, a small strike force consisting of Nightcrawler, Rachel, Kylun and Micromax followed through the portable stargate after the Starjammers. After Cerise was shipped off to a prison colony, they hid aboard the Starjammer’s vessel and overheard a transmission between Corsair and Lilandra. The Starjammer captain was not convinced of Cerise‘s guilt, but Lilandra considered the case closed and ended their contact. Revealed to have known they were hiding aboard all along, Corsair offered Excalibur assistance in clearing up the circumstances of Cerise’s crime and they beamed down to the prison colony. The truth was soon uncovered: Cerise destroyed the warship she was assigned to when her commander ordered genocide on a planet that would not bow before his version of Shi’ar doctrine. Once this new evidence was presented to the Majestrix, Cerise’s sentence was modified to serving as part of Lilandra’s advisory staff, and the Starjammers accompanied her to Chandilar. [Excalibur (1st series) #68-70]
The Starjammers were sent by Lilandra to investigate a large amount of activity at the Troyjan borders, where they ran parallel to Shi’ar space. They detected the creation of a Troyjan jumphole and found the Hulk floating there unconscious with the Silver Surfer. The Troyans had kidnapped some of Banner’s allies in the Pantheon and the Green Goliath went after them. The Starjammers joined forces with Banner and the Silver Surfer against the Troyjans, confronting their rule Arm’chedon and his son, Trauma. After the Hulk accidentally killed Trauma in single combat, Arm’chedon granted his son’s final wish and gave safe passage out of Troyjan space to the Starjammers and the others. [Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #415-416]
At one point, the Starjammers were hired to rescue an imprisoned princess and they easily retrieved Tallibone and brought her home. Unfortunately, things weren’t so simple – it turned out the princess was imprisoned by her father for constantly trying to kill him to gain control of his empire. Tallibone renewed her plans for invasion after being freed and also involved the Starjammers by announcing her intent to marry Corsair while Hepzibah was sentenced to death. The Starjammers instead rectified their error, sedating Tallibone and bringing her back to the King. [X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #32]
[Note: Judging by Hepzibah’s hair and costume, this story takes place after Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #377, and Waldo’s presence proves that it happened before the Starjammers limited series. The story can fit in anywhere between these two points.)
As time passed and conditions grew worse in occupied Kree space, the Starjammers stopped working for Lilandra and began assisting refugees who wanted safe passage out of Kree/Shi’ar space. They found new allies on some loosely-aligned neutral worlds called the Clench, who even provided them with a pilot named Keeyah to replace the destroyed artificial intelligence, Waldo. Their antics earned them the renewed hatred of Shi’ar military but Lilandra still declared any significant action against them off limits, due to their past relationship. During one of their flights, the Starjammers discovered a vessel of the Uncreated, a previously unknown race burning a path of destruction towards the Shi’ar capital, Chandilar. Uncovering their log book, the Starjammers learned the history and purpose of the Uncreated. They were a former slave race who took their current title after they found their living god and killed it. Adapting a radically aggressive form of atheism, the Uncreated considered praying a dangerously backward behavior and intended to destroy any culture that practices religion, including the Shi'ar.
Hepzibah saw little problem with this, as her hatred for the “birdies“ had been growing every day and she wanted to see them annihilated, but Corsair wondered which of the two races was the greater evil. The Shi’ar forced other races into a “marriage” of cultures through conquest, but the Uncreated killed entire planets in their path and left unoccupied space vulnerable to the growing menace of the Phalanx. When it became clear that the Shi’ar and Uncreated would meet in battle over Clench space, the Starjammers found they could no longer stand by. They used the data from the log book along with Clench tech called “mirror throwers” to create a huge image in space of the Uncreated’s god. The Uncreated advancing on the Shi’ar armada committed suicide before the image, rather than face their vengeful god again. Thanking the Starjammers for their help, Lilandra canceled the criminal charges against the space pirates and also formulated a stronger non-aggression pact with the Clench planets. The Starjammers celebrated their victory, but Corsair planned to retire fully from piracy and hoped that his lover, Hepzibah, would join with him and overcome her hatred. [Starjammers (1st series) #1-4]
- Whatever became of Corsair’s plan to retire with Hepzibah is unknown, for when the group next appeared they were without their pilot Keeyah and had been captured by the Collector.
Chronology continued Under unrevealed circumstances, the Starjammers were captured by the Collector and held captive on his massive installation, Prison World. Although the Collector initially appeared content to test and experiment on the Starjammers, that changed once a rebel from Prison World named Aria returned with Wolverine as her champion to arrange the freedom of all the Collector’s captives. He then revealed to the Starjammers that his true purpose was to isolate and protect endangered species from the coming of Galactus, the World-Devourer. Having been alerted that Galactus was in fact on his way towards Prison World, the Collector released the Starjammers with the hope that they could convince Wolverine and Aria to stop their uprising, before it attracted Galactus’ attention. Unfortunately, the Starjammers arrived too late to prevent Wolverine from shutting down the planet’s power grid. As all prison cells popped open, the planet’s cloaking field was also disabled since the two systems were linked to each other. Without the cloaking shield, Galactus easily detected Prison World and arrived to make a feast of the planet. While the Starjammers used their spaceship to escape with as many refugees as possible, Logan attempted to stop Galactus directly with some of their allies. He failed hopelessly and, right before the prison planet was consumed, the Starjammers beamed Logan aboard their ship to bring him home. [Wolverine (2nd series) #134-138]
Months later, as Chandilar was attacked by Galactus, the Starjammers were among the many heroes that rushed to aid Majestrix Lilandra. After the world devourer perished, the team took part in the following celebrations. [Galactus the Devourer #5-6]
As head of the Intergalactic Council, Lilandra was coerced into turning Earth into a maximum security prison planet, letting all galactic civilizations dump their least desirables there. Somewhere in Shi'ar space, she made time to confer with Charles Xavier aboard the Starjammer. Tempers flared between Lilandra and Xavier, as both risked quite a bit for the meeting. Corsair had to tell them to stop quarrelling and get on with the discussion. Xavier received no special treatment from Chris Summers, as both of Corsair’s sons were believed dead at the time, sacrifices for Xavier’s dream. Lilandra asked Xavier to find her sister, Deathbird, and in return she told Xavier everything she knew about the consortium of galactic races who forced her hand on the Earth issue. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #387]
- Being informed that his son, Cyclops, had been found alive and safe, Corsair visited Earth to spend some personal time with Scott in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #391.
- In an undepicted sequence of events, the Starjammer was caught up in a cosmic electrical storm at a stargate on the fringes of the Shi’ar Empire. Corsair somehow managed to save the ship, but was separated from his allies as Ch’od, Hepzibah and Raza were blasted to the far end of the universe. They spent months in unfamiliar space, unaware if Corsair had survived his attempt to preserve their lives or not.
Chronology continued Operating in a distant part of the universe, the Starjammers allied themselves with a tree-like race of aliens known as the Thorn, who were at odds with the Union of Intelligent Races. Although ostensibly ruled by a benevolent monarchy, the Union was largely directed by the greedy and xenophobic Committee, who believed in the inferiority of non-human races. Worse, they trafficked in the enhancement drug known as Hyrax, which was actually the living seed pods of the Thorn people, stolen from their worlds. The Committee painted the Thorn and their Starjammers enforcers as pirates and terrorists but, to the Thorn, the Committee were literally eating their young, and they were desperate to retake any Hyrax shipment the Committee transported.
Aboard the royal flagship Kurnit Corona, Ch’od and Raza assisted their new Captain Kalyx in recovering a bounty of Hyrax seeds, and impressed cadet Tolo Hawk of the Union Defense Corps as their “cabin boy.” While he was initially furious at the Thorn for the destruction of the flagship and the death of his father, Tolo Hawk soon learned the truth about the Hyrax and the Committee, and committed himself to helping the Starjammers alert the people of the Union and their princess to the real facts. They found assistance in K-zzat, an energy being who normally existed as the same sort of electrical storm that cast the Starjammer across the galaxy. With his transmission powers, the Starjammers were able to beam a communiqué past the Committee to Princess Sabra and the people of the capital world Kinshaa, revealing the truth about the Hyrax seeds and the Committee’s attempted regicide, a bomb in the princess’s throne at her coronation. Princess Sabra made peace with the Thorn, returning their Hyrax seeds and disbanding the Committee. [Starjammers (2nd series) #1-6]
- With the help of K-zzat, Hepzibah, Ch’od and Raza planned on juicing up the Starjammer with enough power to return to Shi’ar space. Their return was never displayed on-panel, but they were next seen working with Corsair again, and K-zzat was nowhere to be found.
Chronology continued Many months later, the Shi’ar Empire was in disarray after the Mummundrai entity known as Cassandra Nova warped Lilandra’s mind and laid waste to a good portion of the armada. As Lilandra recuperated, Chancellor Araki and the secret order of the Crystal Claws arranged for a coup, bringing Emperor D’Ken out of his long-spanning coma, allied with his exile sister Deathbird and the insane Earther and former X-Man named Vulcan. Vulcan had been a slave of the Shi’ar from birth after he was torn from the womb of his mother, Corsair’s wife Katherine Anne, then unwittingly abandoned in battle on his first mission as an X-Man, leaving him bitter and violent. Professor Xavier and a team of X-Men including Nightcrawler, Havok, Polaris, Marvel Girl, Warpath and Darwin had been tracking Vulcan through Shi’ar space for weeks before meeting up with Corsair and the Starjammers, and learning of the coup attempt. They joined Corsair on a rescue mission to retrieve Lilandra before she could be executed and formulate an opposition to D’Ken’s return. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #482]
Alongside Lilandra and the X-Men, the Starjammers released Major-General Ka’ardum from exile, adding his strategic mind and roughly a third of the Imperial Fleet who was loyal to him to their cause. Their next mission was to rescue the captured Charles Xavier from the site of the M’Kraan Crystal where D’Ken was officiating the royal wedding of Deathbird and the newly anointed Prince Vulcan. All-out war broke out at the base of the M’Kraan, which Vulcan took advantage of to murder D’Ken and proclaim himself the new emperor of the Shi’ar. Corsair confronted his prodigal son and attempted to reason with him, but now-Emperor Vulcan struck down his father with a single blast, killing him. In the chaos that followed, Nightcrawler and Lilandra got the injured Xavier and Darwin to safety aboard the X-Men’s jumpship. Attempting to protect her lover from the carnage to come, Lilandra locked in jump coordinates for Earth on the ship, teleporting herself back to the planet below while Nightcrawler, Xavier, Darwin, Warpath and Hepzibah were forcibly cast through hyperspace and back to Earth. Meanwhile, Havok and Polaris managed to cause Vulcan serious injuries despite his vast power, while Deathbird ordered the Imperial Guard and troops to retreat and regroup for another day. As they buried Christopher Summers on a small, undeveloped world he used to frequent, Alex vowed to bring an end to his insane brother’s reign. As the new captain of the Starjammer, Havok joined Polaris, Marvel Girl, Ch’od, Raza and their ally Korvus as the revamped Starjammers, dedicated to stopping the Shi’ar war machine before it turned its sights to Earth. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #484-486]
- Hepzibah would remain on Earth, a guest of the X-Men at the Xavier Mansion, where she forged a new relationship with Warpath for a time during Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #487-494. During Messiah CompleX, she was added to Wolverine’s X-Force, a team of hunters and trackers gathered to locate Cable and the new mutant birth. After the murder of Warpath’s friend Caliban, however, he wanted Hepzibah removed from X-Force for her own sake. As X-Force continued without her, Hepzibah began living in San Francisco and later on the artificial island of Utopia when the X-Men and their extended allies
relocated to California.
Chronology continued Over several weeks, Havok and the Starjammers spearheaded the rebel alliance of Shi’ar warships with Lilandra and Ka’ardum, slowly but surely picking away at Vulcan’s rule. Based out of the Clench worlds on the outer edge of Shi’ar space, Havok arranged one more major strike at Feather’s Edge to tip the balance of power firmly away from Vulcan. The emperor and his Imperial Guard engaged the Starjammers and rebel fleet directly at Feather’s Edge, but the engagement was interrupted by the Scy’ar Tal, a long forgotten conquest of the Shi’ar whose people had sworn a bloody vengeance against the empire.
Havok initially sought to form an alliance with the Scy’ar Tal against Vulcan, but the aliens’ ruthlessness surpassed even his mad brother. Using their weaponized stargate technology called Finality, the Scy’ar Tal opened a space warp and literally dropped a star on top of Feather’s Edge, utterly annihilating the planet and killing billions. Worse, they then set a course for the world of the M’Kraan Crystal, which they considered their sacred property just as much as the Shi’ar did. Faced with the deadliest of foes, and possibly the end of all that is should the Scy’ar Tal get ahold of the crystal, Havok reluctantly agreed to a détente with Vulcan, joining forces with the Imperial Guard against the attackers. The alliance did not sit well with either side but, nevertheless, the Starjammers and Imperial Guard tracked the Scy’ar Tal back to the stellar nursery they were using as an ammo depot, while the reunited Shi’ar fleet under Ka’ardum continued on to defend the M’Kraan Crystal.
True to his character, as soon as Havok and Vulcan defeated the Eldest of the Scy’ar Tal, the mad emperor turned on his brother and ordered the Imperial Guard to attack the Starjammer as well. He also assumed control of the Finality station and arranged to star-bomb the Scy’ar Tal fleet around M’Kraan. Korvus and Rachel attempted to stop the homing trigger for the stargate, but failed due to Gladiator’s intervention. Meanwhile, the Imperial Guard defeated Polaris, Raza and Ch’od aboard the Starjammer, forcing Havok to cease grappling with Vulcan and surrender to spare their lives. Still, in a last act of defiance, Alex destroyed Finality to prevent Vulcan from ever using it again. Vulcan’s defeat of the Scy’ar Tal secured his position as ruler of the Shi’ar in the minds of the people and the military, and Ka’ardum defected his portion of the fleet back to the throne. He commandeered the Starjammer and gave Lilandra the chance to run for her life before turning it over to Vulcan. [X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #1-5]
The four captive Starjammers were placed in an ultimate class detention facility called “the Hole” on the planet Kr’kn. It was completely isolated, buried miles down under the planet’s oceans away from any light and accessible only by teleportation. Vulcan attempted to wear the group down over time with a combination of torture, malnutrition and sensory deprivation. He overplayed his hand, however, when he tried to drive Havok to despair with tales of Earth, the Cooperstown, Alaska massacre, and crippling of the X-Men that followed. Yet, Havok was able to find hope in that story, seeing the new mutant birth as a chance for their species’ survival, and renewing his own drive to keep on fighting and one day face Vulcan again. [X-Men: Divided We Stand #2]
After several weeks on the run, Rachel, Korvus and Lilandra located the Starjammer at the spaceyard Kythri’s Anvil and staged a daring raid to regain their vessel. An equally daring excursion had Lilandra and Rachel infiltrate Gladiator’s personal “fortress of solitude” long enough to extract the location of their fellow Starjammers’ prison from his mind. They located a mechanic in the non-aligned Clench Worlds willing to aid them in repairing the ship, as Vulcan had declared them intergalactic fugitives. Unfortunately, Vulcan has assembled a new squad of insane and malicious Praetorians, who showed no compunction in violating galactic borders or murdering innocents. A psychopathic Strontian, a violently atheist Uncreated, the carnivorous symbiote… none was as dangerous as the cosmic pyromaniac Hodinn, a humanoid star who unleashed its power and destroyed the entire cluster of Clench worlds while trying to get at the Starjammers.
Meanwhile, Havok and the others dealt with captivity in the Hole as best they could. Raza never stopped fighting his captors, while Ch’od was critical and mocking of his torturers attempts at inflicting pain. Lorna’s Horseman-enhanced physiology continually broke down and absorbed the various drugs and narcotics used on her, making it more and more difficult for the Shi’ar to keep her sedated and under control. Finally, Havok concentrated on regaining his power reserves. Kept in total isolation and darkness most of the day, he slowly built up a plasma charge from the small amount of light radiating from the food slot when his meals were delivered. Eventually, he had enough energy to blow open his cell door and free the others.
As Havok’s group commandeered the Hole, Lilandra arrived with the Starjammer in orbit above the planet. While Rachel used the Phoenix Force to hold off the Shi’ar armada, Korvus and Lilandra teleported into the prison and reunited with Alex. They prepared to make a final stand against Vulcan when he arrived, but the Praetorians arrived first. The maniac Hodinn fought with Marvel Girl out in space, while the others teleported inside the prison. Raza attempted to fight the symbiote Praetorian, but mistakenly aimed his killing stroke towards the creature’s host. With its last victim dead, the symbiote merely jumped over to Raza, forcing him into becoming its latest puppet.
Emperor Vulcan arrived with the Imperial Guard, but the battle between Rachel and the Hodinn grew so fierce that they actually crashed down through the atmosphere and penetrated the underwater prison, causing millions of gallons of water to begin flooding in. Something of a blessing in disguised, the Hodinn also provided the depleted Havok with all the starlight he could ever need and Alex charged up enough to significantly weaken the Hodinn and overpower Vulcan. While Havok had Vulcan on the ropes, the other Starjammers were not faring as well: the Phoenix Force mysteriously abandoned both Rachel and the blade of Korvus, and Lorna was desperately trying to hold back the ocean from inundating the entire complex. With death about to come pouring in at any moment, Lilandra triggered the teleport recall for the Starjammer before Alex could finish off his insane brother. Raza was left behind during the retreat, the symbiote still in control of his body. Realizing they were in desperate need of allies, the Starjammers set a course towards Kree space. [X-Men: Kingbreaker #1-4]
At the edge of Kree territory, the Starjammers barely managed to penetrate the negative barrier shielding all the Kree worlds before being caught by the Shi’ar Warbirds on their tail. Since the Inhumans of Earth had recently claimed dominion over the Kree, Lorna used her status as Princess Crystal Amaquelin’s “sister-in-law” (being the sister of her ex-husband Quicksilver) to demand entrance. As Lilandra begged her case for asylum and aid before King Black Bolt, Polaris and the other Starjammers prepared to attend the royal wedding between Crystal and Ronan the Accuser, to officially commemorate the union of the Kree and Inhumans. Unfortunately, Vulcan was not above promoting a war with the Kree to get what he wanted – Gladiator and the Imperial Guard attacked the ceremony, destroying the Kree’s protective barrier and kidnapping Lilandra in the process. This brazen attack prompted Black Bolt and Medusa to declare war on the Shi’ar. [War of Kings #1]
In order to rescue Lilandra, Havok and the Starjammers joined forces with the New Inhuman Elite. They drew the attention of a lone Warbird on patrol, the Domination Through Superior Firepower, and engaged it. In a commando raid, they disabled the ship’s gravity generators and took control long enough to access the Shi’ar datasphere and pinpoint Lilandra’s location: Vulcan’s flagship. [War of Kings #2] Keeping control of the Dominion, the Starjammers shadowed the main fleet waiting for an opportunity to reclaim the empress until fate stepped in with the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Guardians had been trying to teleport aboard the flagship, but bounced off Vulcan’s transport-shielding and were left floating in space. Ch’od recognized Rocket Raccoon from the Starjammers’ pirating days and teleported them to safety aboard the Dominion. Having revealed themselves, the Starjammers detonated the Dominion’s anti-matter core and pursued Vulcan in the Starjammer. The Guardians and Starjammers boarded the flagship, and did their best to engage the Imperial Guard and locate Lilandra. Despite planning a telepathic ruse specifically to impede Gladiator, however, the Praetor proved to be just as unstoppable as ever. The Starjammers only succeeded in getting Lilandra to safety when Gladiator’s sense of duty finally gave way to his conscience, and he abandoned Vulcan’s rule to help Lilandra. [Guardians of the Galaxy (2nd series) #13, War of Kings #3]
With Gladiator’s assistance, the Starjammers smuggled Lilandra back to Chandilar and a meeting of the high council. Vulcan’s war-mongering was costing the Shi’ar people far more than they ever expected, and the councilmen readily agreed to throw their support behind Lilandra when she arrived to reclaim her throne. Her official reinstatement required a ceremonial walk through the concourse and an act of renewal at the Temple of Sharra and Kythri, which proved somewhat difficult due to the rioting of both factions in the streets. The Starjammers and Gladiator acted as Lilandra's personal guard on her trek, but Councilor Araki summoned the Death Commandos to eliminate her. In the firefight that followed, an assassin from the Fraternity of Raptors named Razer took position and shot Lilandra dead amidst her protectors. [War of Kings #4, War of Kings: Ascension #3-4]
With Lilandra’s assassination, the civil unrest on Chandilar became absolute chaos and the Starjammers vainly tried to restore some semblance of order. Marvel Girl joined the enraged Gladiator in hunting down the treacherous Councilor Araki and his Death Commandos. She avenged her family (who had been slaughtered by the Death Commandos months before) by killing Blackcloak, but ultimately felt no real satisfaction in the act. The war came to an end when both rulers, Black Bolt and Vulcan, died in personal combat aboard the Kree’s T-Bomb full of weaponized Terrigen. With Chandilar in ruins and the line of royal succession ended, Ka’ardum issued an unconditional surrender to the Kree on behalf of the Shi’ar. [War of Kings #5-6]
The Starjammers attended the funeral procession for Lilandra and witnessed Gladiator reluctantly take up the duty of leadership in her absence. [War of Kings: Who Will Rule]
- In the aftermath of the latest Kree / Shi’ar War and the death of Vulcan, the former X-Men members of the Starjammers decided it was time to return to Earth. Along with Korvus, Havok, Polaris and Marvel Girl left the Starjammer and began making their way home.
- The Praetorian symbiote was part of a Shi’ar raid on Nil-Rast, one of the Ceded Territories of the Kree Empire after the Annihilation War. It was captured along with the other Praetorians by Richard Rider and the Nova Corps [Nova (4th series) #27-28], who apparently managed to disengage Raza from the symbiote and set him free. He rejoined Ch’od aboard the Starjammer.
Chronology continued Majestor Kallark requisitioned Ch’od and Raza to shuttle an Imperial Guard survey team to the Fault, the rip in space/time created by the detonation of the Inhumans’ T-Bomb. After the departure of Havok and the Earthers, Ch’od was the new captain of the Starjammer, and didn’t take kindly to the new Praetor Mentor giving orders on his ship. Meanwhile, Raza saw the expedition to the Fault as an opportunity to dispose of the symbiote that had possessed him, which was imprisoned in the Starjammer’s cargo hold. The Starjammer was pulled into a dead bio-organic ship of enormous size which was fleeing from emissaries of the malignant Cancerverse from the far end of the Fault. The Starjammers and Imperial Guard battled possessed and horrifically mutated versions of the X-Men from the Cancerverse, suffering several losses even after reinforcements arrived with the Fraternity of Raptors and Gladiator with the rest of the Guard. They finally brought down the enormous telepathic Xavier-creature by hurling Raza’s symbiote at it, distracting the creature long enough for the Starjammers and Guardsmen to retreat back to Chandilar. [Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1-5]