Dark Reign: The List - X-Men

Issue Date: 
November 2009
Story Title: 

Matt Fraction (writer), Alan Davis (penciler), Mark Farmer (Inker), Nathan Fairbairn (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Daniel Ketchum (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Seeking revenge on Namor, Norman Osborn has somehow acquired Marrina and mutated her further to use her as a weapon of mass destruction. He sends her to kill Atlanteans, which she does. Namor becomes aware of attacks on his people, and the X-Men aid him in relocating his people to safety, leaving him the only Atlantean for Marrina to seek out. When she arrives at Utopia, Namor is not surprised to see her, and with the X-Men’s help, he manages to weaken her, before seemingly drowning her. Later, Namor takes Marrina’s withered body - still in it’s mutated form - to Osborn’s office, and gives him a warning.

Full Summary: 

Inside an under-water lair of Norman Osborn. The tyrant sits behind a desk, several files in front of him, he tells his executive assistant, Victoria Hand, that he started keeping these Catastrophe Files when certain dark flashes of genius struck. ‘Endgame maneuvers, if you will, that I’ve devised to remove a unique array of power players from the board’. Picking one up and handing it to Victoria, Osborn reveals that it is Namor’s file. Somewhat nervously, Victoria looks up and asks ‘What, ahh…what exactly am I looking at, Sir?’ as she stares at something swimming in a tank behind Osborn. A large green sea monster is behind Osborn, its red eyes staring at Victoria, its mouthful of teeth bared.

Osborn glances back and replies ‘Once upon a time her name was Marrina’. Osborn reveals that Marrina is part human and part Plodex - ‘The Plodex are some kind of alien’ - and that when human and Plodex are mixed up you get what she is now. ‘We’ve modified her to keep her perpetually in estrus which explains her rotten attitude’. Osborn adds that, as a result, Marrina is a genetic weapon of mass destruction that HAMMER keeps in its back pocket in the event of global aquatic warfare - ‘Which, by cracking Namor’s file, I’ve just declared’ Osborn adds, before revealing that they spliced some shark stuff into her as well, and that her gonadotropic hormones make her so hungry that she has been driven insane.

Osborn reveals that the only thing Marrina can digest is Atlantean blood, which she can smell a single drop of in 500 million parts of seawater. Osborn explains that the more Marrina eats, the more she grows and the hungrier she gets, adding that when she consumes Atlantean blood, it perpetuates the growth cycle. Osborn moves over to a globe of Earth and tells Victoria that 72% of the world is underwater. ‘And God only knows how many people Namor rules down there’ he adds, before remarking ‘How could we not come up with a doomsday eventuality to deal with them?’ Victoria begins to ask Osborn why, pointing out that there is no strategic, political or military virtue - but Osborn interrupts and shouts ‘Because Namor screwed me over! So now he gets a message: Nobody does what he does and gets away clean!’ while waving a fist in Victoria’s face.

Norman declares that revenge doesn’t need strategic or political or military virtue, and reveals to Victoria that Namor used to be married to this thing, ‘Believe it or not’, back when it was human - or rather, humanoid. ‘And now it’s going to attack his kingdom and eat his people because it’s the only thing it knows how to do. Revenge is its own virtue, Hand…’

Sometime later, deep within the South China Sea, a number of Atlanteans are farming the sea weed and catching fish - when suddenly Marrina attacks them. Beams of energy blast from her eyes, toppling the Atlanteans’ homes, destroying those within them, before her jagged teeth chomp through several Atlanteans, and she swims away, leaving bodies floating in the ocean…bodies which soon rise to the surface, and wash up on a beach.

Lifeguards caution beach-goers back, when, suddenly, Namor the Sub-Mariner rises from the surf, holding the body of an Atlantean woman in his arms. He declares that she was an Atlantean Citizen and is entitled by birthright to full funerary rights and honors. ‘Any of you surface dwellers touch her and I’ll consider it an act of war!’ Namor declares, before ordering everyone out of his way.

Later, on Utopia, the island home of the Uncanny X-Men and their myriad associates, floating off the coastline of San Francisco, California. Construction workers go about repairing recent damage, while at a market, various mutants go about their business, including Anole and Graymalkin, as well as Erg, and the alien Hepzibah.

Inside a meeting room, Namor has laid the body of the Atlantean woman on the meeting room table, while Cyclops, the White Queen, Psylocke and Dr Nemesis listen to him. ‘Five attacks in nine days’ he begins, declaring that five civilian outposts and farming communities have been decimated, each one more profoundly destructive than the last - the attacks just get bigger. Namor reveals that hundreds, if not thousands, of Atlanteans are dead, but it is hard to tell since the evacuations, and escalations, the Atlantean people are adrift. He explains that his military forces are garrisoned outside of Latveria, largely so they can’t protect the populace, even if they knew where the populace was hiding. ‘But there’s something out there. Something I can’t sense’.

‘Something is slaughtering my people wholesale. And I don’t know how to stop it’ Namor declares, adding that it is seeking out his people and only his people, as no marine life is being affected whatsoever. Examining a map, Dr Nemesis remarks ‘Someone made something that eats your kind and set it loose in the ocean? What’s the virtue of -’, but Cyclops interrupts and remarks that it is heading east. ‘Wow, you really are a master strategist, aren’t you?’ Dr Nemesis remarks, before Cyclops explains that it is heading their way, and they can take advantage of that. Cyclops tells Namor to bring his people here, all of them, to get the scent in the water and get this thing coming at them at full speed. He explains that Magik and Pixie can teleport them all half a globe away. ‘We’ll get our people - our civilians - out of here too’ Cyclops adds.

The White Queen points out that the island is already on a war footing, so they lead the killer to them and destroy it. ‘We help you as you helped us’ she adds. Namor pauses and looks at her, before replying ‘No’ and storming away.

Soon, the White Queen finds Namor on a balcony overlooking Utopia. ‘This city of yours came from the heavens, did it not?’ Namor asks. ‘Then it fell into my domain and rotted there. And now, not fit for the stars above or the depths below, you’ve colonized it somewhere in between. Ironic, yes?’ Namor remarks. ‘I don’t care’ the White Queen replies as she approaches him. ‘Imperi -’ Namor begins, spinning around, he is interrupted by the White Queen who raises her hand and tells him to shut up. ‘We just offered you a solution to the nightmare that’s sent you fleeing to the surface world and you go stomping off like a child -’ she begins, before Namor grabs her by the wrists and moves his face in towards her, ‘I don’t want your help. You have technology, you have intelligence - you have reconnaissance techniques and resources and - and - and I don’t ask for help. I’m a King, dammit’. Namor turns away from the White Queen once more, who tells him that he is about to be the King of an empire of corpses. ‘You’re with us now. Help rather comes with the territory, darling…’.

Later, night has fallen over Utopia, and countless Atlanteans are swimming towards two glowing lights at the base of the island - one pink, one yellow - teleportation signatures, courtesy of Pixie and Magik. ‘Step right up, folks!’ Pixie exclaims as the Atlanteans march in two groups towards the young women. ‘Race you’ Pixie exclaims to Magik, who just tells her to shut up. An undetermined time later, the two teleport signatures appear over the Norwegian Sea, and the Atlanteans dive into their temporary refuge. Magik tells them to make themselves as comfortable as they can, and Pixie assures them they will come back for them when it is safe.

The next morning, Namor stands at the base of Utopia along with Wolverine, Cyclops, the White Queen, Iceman, Colossus, Angel, Psylocke, Nightcrawler, Surge and the Stepford Cuckoos. Iceman stands on a platform of ice and remarks that Namor is the only Atlantean in the entire Pacific Ocean. ‘You sure that thing can find you?’ he asks. The telepathic Psylocke announces that she senses nothing, but Namor declares that it is coming. ‘I see it. There’ he declares, motioning to the distance, where something green rises out of the ocean. ‘Of course. It’s her’ Namor declares calmly. ‘Her? You know that thing?’ Cyclops asks, confused. ‘Girls’ the White Queen remarks, turning to the Stepford Cuckoos, who concentrate, before exclaiming ‘There’s nothing to her but hunger and rage and - and hate. There’s nothing there but hate’ the girls declare as Marrina rises from the ocean, mouth open wife, eyes glowing, she screams. ‘Ex-wives. What can you do?’ Namor mutters.

‘You. Frozen one. See if you can stop her. Or at least slow her down’ Namor declares, pointing at Iceman. ‘”Frozen one” Great’ Bobby mutters, before helping Psylocke onto his ice platform and telling her to watch her step. Standing behind Iceman, Psylocke places her hands at either side of his head, and her telepathic butterfly signature appears over Iceman’s face. Psylocke remarks that this may not work, as she is still not used to this power set, but she believes if Iceman opens himself up to her, she should be able to amplify his abilities. ‘Just relax me into your thoughts and feelings’ she tells him. ‘Believe me, emotional transparency has never been one of my issues’ Iceman replies, when, suddenly, an enormous sheet of ice spreads from Iceman, across the water, and smacks into Marrina. ‘It’s working!’ Psylocke exclaims as the ice surrounds Marrina, trapping her in the water.

Iceman announces that he can’t hold it, as it is too big, just as Marrina bursts through the ice, screaming, and energy bursting from her eyes, she begins to plow through the ice, knocking Iceman and Psylocke backwards. Cyclops turns to Colossus, who knows what to do - he performs the Fastball Special with Wolverine, throwing Wolverine towards Marrina, where he lands on her head, just between her eye-beams, shoving one set of claws into her head so he can hold on - before he begins to slash away at her. ‘Good luck!’ Angel exclaims as he drops Surge down on Marrina’s back. ‘Go!’ Wolverine tells the young mutant. ‘Going!’ Surge replies as she charges Marrina with electricity, causing the monster to convulse. Angel flies Wolverine to safety, while Nightcrawler teleports in and collects Surge, teleporting out instantly, while dropping some sort of bomb on Marrina, who is tossed about on the icy water once again.

But Marrina just seems to be mad still, and she rises out of the water, towering over Utopia, she screams. Cyclops tells everyone to scramble, so the mutants make their way up the base of the island, while Namor remarks ‘She’s within range’ - just as Marrina appears to clamp down on him - but Namor uses his incredible strength to hold her up at the base of her mouth. ‘There…there we go’ Namor declares. ‘Namor…my lord!’ Cyclops gasps while he and the others look on. ‘I’m not…your King…Summers’ Namor replies, smirking, before telling everyone to get back, explaining that he just needed her out of the water. With that, Namor takes flight, all the while carrying the monstrous form of his ex-wife.

Shortly, above the Mariana Trench, Namor dives into the water, forcing Marrina downwards, he tells her not to fight him, and not to think. His mind - or her mind? - recalls their time together, happier times, swimming through the ocean side-by-side when Marrina was normal. ‘This will all be over soon’ Namor tells her as the swim deeper and deeper.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, inside Oscorp, Norman sits at a desk, while the Sentry stands nearby and asks ‘Get you anything, Mr Osborn? Corn dog? Glass of water’. Osborn replies that he is fine, when suddenly, a HAMMER agent enters his office, ‘Director Osborn, Sir? You’ve asked us to monitor sudden object appearances and trajectories. We’ve just had one and the models suggest that if nothing alters its path it could impact -’ the agent is interrupted, as Sentry notices something moving towards the office - too late though, as it slams into the office, sending glass everywhere - it’s Marrina’s withered body, her head lands at Norman’s feet.

‘My weapon!’ Osborn exclaims. A dozen HAMMER soldiers rush into the office, while Sentry exclaims ‘I see him!’ ‘Secure the perimeter!’ one of the officers declares. ‘Get the Director to safety, get him -’ someone else remarks, but Osborn shouts ‘NO!’ and orders everyone to stand down, assuring them that he is fine. ‘We’re about to have a visitor’ Osborn adds, and on cue, Namor appears hovering outside the gaping hole in Osborn’s office. ‘Ahh. Here he is now’ Osborn declares. ‘That thing…that was my wife once. And if I was willing to do that to her…just imagine what I’m going to do to you’ Namor warns Osborn. ‘Be seeing you, your highness’ Osborn smiles at Namor.

At Utopia, Magik and Pixie have commenced teleporting the Atlanteans back into the Pacific Ocean, ‘Welcome home’ Cyclops declares as Namor stands beside him and the White Queen.

Characters Involved: 

Angel, Colossus, Cyclops, Iceman, Namor, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, White Queen (all X-Men)

Magik (former New Mutant / meber of Cannonball’s X-Men squad)

Anole, Graymalkin, Pixie III, Stepford Cuckoos, Surge IV (all X-students)

Doctor Nemesis (member of X-Club)

Erg, Hepzibah (citizens of the X-Nation) Erg


Norman Osborn

Victoria Hand


Construction workers

Unidentified mutants on Utopia

Numerous Atlanteans

Civilians on the beach


HAMMER agents

In Illustrative Flashback:

Namor & Marrina

Story Notes: 

This issue takes place following the Dark Avengers / Uncanny X-Men “Utopia” crossover.

Marrina, a former member of Alpha Flight and Honorary Avenger was married to the Sub-Mariner in Alpha Flight (1st series) #40. She died in Avengers (1st series) #293, and resurrected sometime after Alpha Flight (1st series) #78, where she was held captive for years by the Master of the World, making her first on-panel appearance in Avengers (3rd series) #47. In that issue, she was seen in a tank, before the Master’s complex was destroyed, and her fate left unknown, until this issue.

This issue comes with a bonus re-printing of Matt Fraction’s first work at Marvel “Dead Man Walking."

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