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Mar 26

X-Men #9 annotations

Posted on Thursday, March 26, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

Five books this week, so I’m going to try and take some of these fairly quickly… but, well, I’ve said that before. Whether there are actually going to be any comics next week is an open question at this stage, but I’m working on the assumption that digital distribution is likely to continue. If not… well, even more time to catch up on reviews….

COVER / PAGE 1. Well, it’s lots of characters from the issue posing more-or-less dramatically.

PAGES 2-6. Thousands of years ago, the Kree Supremor gives the go-ahead to the King Egg.

This is largely exposition about the Brood and the King Egg. Broadly, the idea is that Kree scientists have stumbled upon the Brood and have come up with the idea of trying to weaponise them by displacing the Queen with their own King, and seizing control of the Hive. Planning for the long term, the Kree figure this will be useful in several thousand years time, when the Brood hive is larger. Rather implausibly, the Kree scientists don’t explain what a King Egg actually is and how it works (because that would spoil the ending), and nobody asks them.

The Kree. Militaristic alien race who’ve been around since the 1960s. They don’t show up much in the X-books, but they’re a stock element of the Marvel Universe. The guy in green is an Accuser, probably this era’s Supreme Accuser – the top law enforcer, at least on paper.

“Spawning in the dark matter flow of a collapsed universe.” Hickman is really keen to remind us that his Brood entered the Marvel Universe from another universe, which suggests that it might be important.

Xenotemologists. Not a real word. Presumably a cross between xenobiologists and entomologists, i.e. scientists studying alien insects.

Supremor. Another name for the character more normally referred to as the Kree Supreme Intelligence – a hivemind of the minds of dead Kree geniuses.

The rival alien races named by Supremor:

  • The Skrulls are alien shapeshifters dating back to the early 60s, and the age-old enemies of the Kree. They too are Marvel mainstays who rarely show up in the X-books.
  • The Badoon are mainly Guardians of the Galaxy villains.
  • Galador is the homeworld of the Spaceknights from Rom, and recently cropped up over in Cable.
  • The Shi’ar are the X-Men’s go-to alien race, feature prominently in Hickman’s run, and are said to be the main target of the King Egg plan.
  • The Cotati are a race of peaceful living trees who evolved alongside the Kree on their homeworld Hala. They’re best known from Steve Englehart stories in the 70s.

PAGES 7-8. Credits and recap. This is “The King Egg”, by Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Francis Yu.

PAGES 9-10. Cyclops, Jean, Havok, Vulcan and Broo arrive in Shi’ar space.

Self-explanatory. Vulcan doesn’t get much to do in this issue, does he? He doesn’t even have a line of dialogue. I wonder why he’s here.

PAGES 11-23. Gladiator & co take out the Accuser who was holding the Starjammers. Everyone fights the Brood until Broo becomes the new King.

The unidentified station which is destroyed in passing as collateral damage doesn’t look familiar to me, but it serves no obvious point in the plot of this issue, so you have to figure it might mean something down the line.

Most of this scene is action, so there’s not much for me to add here. Broo eats the egg, which is apparently what you do with it in order to make yourself the King. (This doesn’t really work as a moment, because it plays as comic anticlimax.) Basically, though, the power of the Brood species is now under the control of Broo, the one member of the race who’s basically sane and reasonable. This is not what the King Egg was designed to achieve.

PAGES 24-25. Data page about the Kree’s knowledge of the Brood.

The small print reads “Supremor SI 01, 1000 WI SI 05”. This refers back to the data page in Powers of X #2 about measuring interstellar societies “based on measurements of species intelligence (SI).” That actually listed the Supreme Intelligence as having an SI of at least 100, though.

Black Judges are a new concept, as far as I know, but we’re told that they’re the science wing of the accusers..

The list of potential seed species. Aside from the Brood, we’re told about five other hive species that the Kree tried to weaponise.

  • The Tal Ba-Rii. Fairly sure they’re new. We’re told they’re extinct.
  • The Sidri are a race of alien bounty hunters best known from Uncanny X-Men #154 and #168. They also appear in Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 this week, so they might have more significance. The Kree failed with them, because of their “mind structure”.
  • The Scatter are an alien scavenger hive from the early issues of Force Works.
  • The Phalanx are a techno-organic race who were extensively discussed in Powers of X.
  • The Gu’Knoiss are new.

“Close study implies manufacture.” Hickman is hinting at an origin story for the Brood where they were genetically engineered in another universe.

The Firstborn are Brood elite soldiers from the 1996 miniseries X-Men vs Brood. They’ve never appeared anywhere else.

PAGES 26-27. Trailers and credits. The Krakoan reads NEXT: EMPYRE. Empyre is the upcoming crossover which looks set to get lost in the lockdown.

Bring on the comments

  1. Chris V says:

    I haven’t been able to acquire any of the new comics for the past two weeks, as of yet.

    Hickman is probably just ripping off Ridley Scott with the Xenomorphs.
    If Claremont created the Brood as an homage to Alien, then it only makes sense that their origin needs to be updated with the changes to that movie franchise.

    The Black Air organization from Ellis’ Excalibur were also interested in weaponizing alien species.

  2. Benjamin says:

    The cover spoofs the movie poster for Cannonball Run II.

  3. SanityOrMadness says:

    Paul> Xenotemologists. Not a real world. Presumably a cross between xenobiologists and entomologists, i.e. scientists studying alien insects.

    “Real World” is presumably a typo for “real word”?

    Paul> Self-explanatory. Vulcan doesn’t get much to do in this issue, does he? He doesn’t even have a line of dialogue. I wonder why he’s here.

    Given the significance of Vulcan in Shi’ar history as an outsider who became Majestor and led them into a major war before disappearing… you’d think there would have been more of a reaction to his presence from the likes of Gladiator.

    Paul> Basically, though, the power of the Brood species is now under the control of Broo, the one member of the race who’s basically sane and reasonable.

    Meh, the Brood who was one of Hulk’s Warbound in Planet Hulk was generally played as pretty “sane and reasonable”.

  4. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    Vulcan doesn’t get much to do in this issue, does he? He doesn’t even have a line of dialogue. I wonder why he’s here.

    What is this, a Bendis book?

  5. Paul says:

    I’ve fixed the typo. Thanks.

  6. YLu says:

    The comic anticlimax nature of the ending is why it works for me. (Too bad Yu’s art can’t really sell comedy reaction shots, though.)

    Vulcan does have a single line of dialogue, going on again about fire. But I’d guess he’s here as setup for whatever’s going to go down in the Empyre tie-in.

  7. Evilgus says:

    Yu’s art really doesn’t suit the tone of this series. I’m very sad we don’t have the HOXPOX artists for this ongoing.

    Also, it does just feel like Hickman is using these books to continue his interest in Marvel’s space opera. Every other issue feels like a team is jetting off to deep space for… reasons.

    I’d ordinarily have no problem with that kind of story, but it’s not tied to any particular character motivation, not does it tie back to all the interesting stuff that should be happening with mutant culture on Krakoa. It feels a bit like we’re being missold.

    In fact I’ll put the challenge out there: how did the plot turn on the actions of any X-character other than Broo?

  8. What is this, a Bendis book?

    Nah, if it were a Bendis book, Vulcan would get dialogue but it would be indistinguishable from that of everybody else.

  9. Ben says:

    I really liked last issue and was excited to see it followed up on.

    Unfortunately this was pretty bleh.

    Lots of Hickman info dumping while the actual characters do very little.

    Most everyone feels like an interchangeable cypher who just speaks the plot or background as needed.

    The two characters I thought would be pivotal (Vulcan and Broo) are total non-entities until the last page.

    A shame, I thought we were finally picking up speed.

    It feels like we’ve had a hundred issues of the HoxPox set up and we’re still somehow in the prologue.

  10. Karl_H says:

    That flashback scene with the Kree… The Brood don’t really work that way, do they? To turn someone into a Brood, you need a queen and an egg and a week or so, right?

    Not crazy about the art in this one. The outer space action scenes were pretty hard to follow. Part of that’s on the script too, because for the Accuser to be thrown out of the station, pass the X-Men’s ship, and get swallowed by a whale — all those things have to be nearly right on top of each other, or sitting still or something.

  11. Ben says:

    Exactly how the Brood work is pretty variable by appearance.

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