SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for X-Men Blue #23 by Cullen Bunn, Jorge Molina, Matt Milla, Jay David Ramos and Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
Marvel’s time-displaced team of teenage X-Men is missing. Or rather, as far as the young mutants’ allies know, they are. The team of young X-Men went into space with Venom as part of the “Poison X” crossover, and while readers know how that went, their mentor Magneto has no idea what’s going on with them, and no idea if they’ll ever come back.
That said, there’s still work to be done. The White Queen and Havok are still out there plotting, which means Magneto needs to rely on his remaining allies — Jimmy Hudson, Bloodstorm, and his daughter Polaris — to continue the X-Men’s work. But that also means bringing in outside help, as an old threat from the past emerges under everyone’s nose.
The big threat at the heart of Cullen Bunn’s time on the X-Men is the mysterious Mothervine. Not only can it grant secondary mutations, such as Emma Frost’s diamond form, it can turn regular humans into mutants. While Magneto doesn’t know it for sure, he’s right to believe that Frost and Havok are working with Miss Sinister as part of their goals, but he seems to be unaware that Bastion of all people is involved in the plot. With his team’s roster reduced due to the time-displaced X-Men being lost in space, it falls to Jimmy and Bloodstorm to continue the investigation into Miss Sinister while Magneto checks out the Hellfire Club. Long the way, both run into some old friends.
Magneto confronts Sebastian Shaw for siding with Emma, and discovers that Shaw has been exposed to Mothervine. Traditionally, Shaw’s power to absorb kinetic energy relies on him absorbing it directly via bing struck by a physical object. But now, thanks to the secondary mutation of Mothervine, he can absorb kinetic energy out of the air around him.
Meanwhile, Jimmy and Bloodstorm come across The New Marauders, the group of mutants displaced from the Ultimate Universe who have allied themselves with Miss Sinister, who are on the trail of Xorn who has been missing since Emma Frost used him as the puppet leader of New Tian during Secret Empire.
With the short-staffed X-Men having to deal with Emma Frost, Havok, Bastion, Miss Sinister, The New Marauders and Xorn, you’d think they’d have enough on their plate — but there’s one more enemy lurking among them: Polaris has once again been taken over by the malevolent psychic entity known as Malice.
There are a number of supervillains in the Marvel Universe that go by the name Malice, including Nakia of Wakanda and Susan Storm of the Fantastic Four. This one is a mutant, and a member of Mr. Sinister’s Marauders. You can usually tell someone is possessed by Malice as a black choker appears around their neck, but recently Malice has been forced to rely on manipulating people into accepting the choker.
Malice tried to possess Jean Grey, but the young mutant’s psychic defenses were simply too strong. Unfortunately for Lorna Dane, she’s been a victim of Malice before, during her time in the government sponsored X-Factor. As such, she’s more susceptible to corruption.
With only so many mutants left on Magneto’s side and so many threats mounting against them, the loss of Polaris to The Mauraders is a heavy blow to the team. Malice can lie in wait, gather information and sabotage Magneto’s plans, making things even harder for the Master of Magnetism to stop the mutant cabal’s plans.
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