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Nov 15

Dark X-Men #4 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

DARK X-MEN vol 2 #4
“Up Jumped the Devil”
Writer: Steve Foxe
Artist: Jonas Scharf
Colour artist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller & Jay Bowen
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. Chasm in the foreground, with Feint, Gambit, Goblin QUeen and Havok behind.

PAGES 2-5. Gambit brings Rogue up to speed.

Rogue is appearing over in Uncanny Avengers. So far, we’ve glossed over the question of why the two married characters aren’t together – but then, Rogue is a previous Avengers, and somebody needs to keep an eye on the Limbo Embassy.

“What he is not used to … is being the most honourable, responsible person in the room.” I’m not sure it’s that unprecedented, given the time he’s spent in the Thieves Guild, or indeed his stint with the Marauders… but sure, Gambit is normally the wild card rogue, and he’s being forced here into playing the role of the last normal X-Man.

“You shoulda got out ‘a there when Maggott did.” Maggott quit last issue to stay with Callisto’s group of Morlocks.

The mutant being rescued from Orchis in page 3 panel 2 is Brimstone Love, which is a bit odd, because he was killed by Daken and Johnny Dee in Marauders #12 back in March. I suppose he could have been resurrected before the fall of Krakoa, but he’s an odd person prioritise.

“Course, some don’t have enough sense to stay put.” The three seen here are Animax, Fatale and Reaper, who were all seen in the Limbo Embassy in issue #1. They were captured by Orchis Hounds in Uncanny Spider-Man #3.

PAGE 6. The Goblin Queen II selects a mutant from Orchis’ jail.

As we’ll see later, this is Abyss.

PAGE 7. Recap and credits.

PAGE 8-11. The Goblin Queen II, Krol and Vallens attack the Limbo Embassy using Abyss.

Abyss debuted in the “Age of Apocalypse” crossover, but his mainstream counterpart was introduced in Cable #40 in 1996. He’s never done very much of great significance. In the notorious Uncanny X-Men arc “The Draco”, in 2003, he was retconned into being one of Azazel’s many offspring on Earth, making him Nightcrawler’s half-brother. He was depowered on M-Day and I believe this is the first time we’ve seen him since he regained his powers, which presumably happened via the Crucible. Basically, he can unravel his body into tendrils, and there’s some sort of portal inside him. While he’s not a character who gets a great deal of use, here his powers happen to be convenient to the plot, and of course he has a connection with Azazel.

PAGE 12. Data page: a conversation between Professor X and Nightcrawler from the early days of Krakoa about Azazel coming to Krakoa. Basically, Nightcrawler correctly suspects that Azazel won’t like it on Krakoa, but doesn’t really care about the guy one way or the other, despite being his biological son. This is Azazel’s big claim to fame in X-Men continuity, and even Nightcrawler doesn’t care that much about it.

Mystique would be resentful of Azazel because of the circumstances in which he seduced her and, possibly, in which she wound up abandoning baby Kurt. Stories vary as to how voluntary that was on her part, and recent issues of Uncanny Spider-Man are clearly setting up an overhaul of this area of continuity.

Professor X alludes to Nightcrawler’s comments in early Krakoan stories about setting up a mutant religion, though Nightcrawler presents it here as more of an evolution of his thought. (What actually happened, in Way of X, was that Nightcrawler developed a philosophy rather than a religion.)

PAGES 13-15. The Goblin Queen tears through the other refugees.

The four refugees seen here are Brimstone Love again, plus three people we saw in issue #1: the bearded man is 1970s villain Solarr, the girl on the stairs is Infestation, and the other guy is Snot.

PAGES 16-18. Chasm refuses to help Orchis.

Chasm has been in a jail in the Limbo Embassy since the end of Dark Web, when he was involved in trying to restart Inferno, but his main preoccupation was to avenge himself against Spider-Man. Broadly speaking, Chasm is a clone of Spider-Man who wrongly blames the real Spider-Man for erasing parts of his memory and identity. Given his behaviour in Dark Web, he’s frankly overselling himself a bit here in terms of moral standing – he tried to restart Inferno, after all – but it’s basically correct that his motivations are all about revenge on individuals whom he believes to have wronged him, and he has no interest whatsoever in Orchis’ agenda. And he doesn’t actually fight Orchis – he just refuses to get involved.

PAGE 19. Data page. Bugwort, a limbo demon, writes about Chasm in a rather garbled way. In case it’s not clear, Chasm’s cell is not “the nastiest, foulest, most grossest corner” of the Embassy – it was as nice as Madelyne could get away with making it, which is why the demons find it repulsive.

PAGES 20-21. Azazel and Emplate kill Abyss.

This causes the regular cast to re-emerge from Abyss’s portal. Azazel implies that he didn’t know that this would happen. But he may just be posturing, since it’s hard to see what else he was trying to achieve by killing Abyss – unless maybe he was trying to put the guy out of his misery, but would Azazel really care?

“Fatherhood has never been my forte. Just a means to an end, really.” The plot of “The Draco” involves Azazel fathering children so that eventually he can force them to open a portal to Earth. (How he gets to Earth to father them in the first place is never clearly explained.)

PAGES 22-24. The Goblin Queen subdues Feint and Infestation.

“Your Pryor has a means of touching mutant souls.” The Mercy Crown, Madelyne’s magical Cerebro alternative from issue #1. A data page in issue #2 warned that it had the potential to destroy mutantkind.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads GOBLIN QUEENS.

Bring on the comments

  1. Michael says:

    Why did Orchis want Chasm so badly? He’s not very powerful compared to their Goblin Queen. They’ve already got their own Madelyne Pryor and their own Captain America- do they win some sort of prize if they get a trifecta of versions of the X-Men’s allies?
    One thing I wasn’t clear about- did Ben leave the embassy or just go back into his cell?
    There’s a lot of plots that need to be wrapped up next issue- Maddie’s prophetic dream, Alex’s dying, Elsie Dee being Orchis’s prisoner. The solicits for Dead X-Men mention them being pursued by a cloaked figure- I wonder if that’s the cloaked figure in Maddie’s dream (and not Death, as soon people have suggested).

  2. Michael says:

    Incidentally, if anyone is wondering how the Limbo Embassy could exist in New York, obviously the answer is that Luke Cage allowed the Limbo Embassy to be built in New York in exchange for Krakoan campaign contributions. 🙂
    (For those of you who aren’t New Yorkers, our mayor is currently in the middle of a scandal where he’s accused of pressuring the Fire Department to allow the Turkish Consulate to open despite safety concerns in exchange for Turkish campaign contributions.)

  3. Luis Dantas says:

    Silly pet peeve of mine, but… I keep hoping that we will have some statement that in the MU somehow Embassies do not have to be placed in a capital city. Perhaps because there is no separate concept of a Consulate.

    That would go a long way towards explaining why Latveria and now Limbo have embassies in NYC.

  4. Joe Kearon says:

    In Marvel’s eyes, New York is the capital of the US.

  5. Alastair says:

    If Orchis could turn Ben then they could have Spider-man on their side, a member of the FF and the Avengers, which would be good PR. And Judas and Ben can get all nostalgic out when they were both introduced and relevant back in the 90’s. (Ben is a 90s Character to my mind, the 70’s clone story is about a copy of Pete he only becomes a real boy when he arrives as Ben)

  6. Miyamoris says:

    This issue is a bit patchy. The plot beat with Chasm is weird and wish there was more clarity on Azazel’s move. But I still like this book.

    Honestly Azazel could be a much more functional character if not for the massive negative baggage The Draco brings.

  7. Mike Loughlin says:

    @Miyamosis: “Honestly Azazel could be a much more functional character if not for the massive negative baggage The Draco brings.”

    Possibly, but I never think of him as… actually, I never think about Azazel at all. This miniseries has been the most interesting use of the character ever. I wouldn’t be against seeing him pop up in the future, provided he’s written like he is here.

    I’m not a big fan of having the “evil version of the hero” being a palette-swap. Sabretooth doesn’t look exactly like Wolverine, the Abomination doesn’t look exactly like the Hulk, etc. “The Draco” is probably the thing holding Azazel back, as you said, but his visual isn’t distinct enough, either.

  8. wwk5d says:

    While not my favorite Fall of X title, I am enjoying this and find it entertaining enough so far. Here’s hoping we end things well enough next issue.

  9. wwk5d says:

    Also, I wonder if that first page of Rogue and Gambit is some type of homage/call back to the cover of 90s X-men 24?

  10. Mathias X says:

    Wild that Spider editorial has fallen so far that it was even a tease that Ben could be recruited to join a hate group.

  11. Omar Karindu says:

    Mathias X said: Wild that Spider editorial has fallen so far that it was even a tease that Ben could be recruited to join a hate group.

    I mean, Chasm as a concept is really just…bad.

    He’s Spider-Man’s formerly heroic clone, having been broken and turned evil by repeated resurrections, is recruited as a corporate stooge version of Spider-Man, and is further broken and evilized by losing many of his memories, for which he blames Spider-Man, and now operates from a demon dimension.

    It’s just….what is this character? Why is anyone supposed to care about that motivation and status quo?

  12. Michael says:

    @Omar-Part of the issue seems to be that Wells really liked Maddie’s transformation into the Goblin Queen. But as people have been pointing out ever since, it was done via a magic spell that changed her personality and made her “sluttier”- something that would never be accepted today. The Goblin Queen lacked Maddie’s love of flying and even spoke differently than her. But Wells thought artificially changing someone’s personality through magic or technology was good storytelling. So in his run, we got Kafka turning into the Queen Goblin as a result of having Norman’s sins implanted in her, and Ben turning evil as a result of losing his memories. Also, Norman Osborn stayed good as a result of having his “sins” removed. (This was a holdover from Spencer’s run but I have a feeling that Spencer intended it to be temporary.) None of it was character development- all of it was artificial.
    Of course, the problem with Chasm is that we’re repeatedly told it’s not possible to restore Ben’s pre-Amazing 149 memories without killing Peter but there’s no reason why a telepath can’t just copy Peter’s memories into Ben.
    It’s been suggested that one of the reasons for the creation of Chasm is that the Spider-Office wanted a Venom-type villain now that Eddie is good. But isn’t that what Carnage is for? And if he doesn’t cut it, couldn’t Garage just get another symbiote?

  13. Mathias X says:

    I mean heck, if they really wanted Ben to be a Venom-like enemy, why not just give him an especially mean symbiote

  14. Si says:

    It’s so lazy to have an enemy who’s just the same guy but evil. And I include Venom here. Now Doc Ock is genius enemy creation. He can do everything Spider-Man can do (minus the spider sense), but looks and works completely differently.

  15. Daniel Wheeler says:

    I really don’t care for how these Z list characters were completely trashed with only Solarr putting up a fight (and Goblin Queen just shot his fire right back at him and killed him which doesn’t seem possible)

  16. Michael says:

    @Daniel Wheeler- The Goblin Queen was able to kill Solarr with his own fire because she’s a creature of black magic and doesn’t have to follow the laws of physics. There’s precedent for this in Marvel. A demon was able to break Reed Richards’s arm when he was stretching and on another occasion, a demon was able to grab Visionn when he was intangible.

  17. CalvinPitt says:

    It’s weird part of Dark Web involve Ben/Chasm being angry at losing his memories, when a resolution of another part of Dark Web was Jean Grey sharing her memories of raising baby Cable with Maddy. But Jean can’t help Peter do the same for Ben because. . .

    I’m not sure if there was a reason, or if they just wrote Ben as so far gone he wants to be the only person with those memories, so they could avoid that extremely obvious solution.

    (Granted, Peter couldn’t give Ben back the memories of the years on the road between Clone Sagas, but getting a lot back would be better than nothing.)

  18. Ben says:


    It’s like when they put Speedball in that spiked cage suit after Civil War, but it’s kind of a tossup who had less of an original personality to begin with

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