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X-Men #23: Review

Jun 2023
Gerry Duggan, Joshua Cassara

Story Name:

When cometh ... the Stark Sentinels

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

X-Men #23 Review by (June 16, 2023)
Nice 1960's style issue title!

This issue was touted as part of a crossover with Iron Man #7-8. Thematically they all concern Orchis and Feilong using the new Sentinels built with Stark tech against the mutant nation. Orchis featured in IM#7 (and White Queen discussed the problem with Tony Stark back in #5) but Iron Man isn't actually in this issue. And the big attack on Krakoa supposedly won't happen until the (3rd) Hellfire Gala.
Here they're referred to as Stark Sentinels. Over there they're Iron Sentinels. Gerry Duggan writes both!

Kingpin and Typhoid Mary married in Daredevil (2021) #6. Kingpin gave up his crime boss role after he lost the mayorship of NY in the Devil's Reign event. He arrived in Krakoa in our #20.

Cyclops was a friend of Ms Marvel when he and the other young X-Men were temporarily brought into the current era. He and MsM were 2 of the founder members of the 21st Century Champions. After the young X-Men were sent back to their own time modern-day Cyclops told MsM he remembered their association.
MsM was killed in Amazing Spider-Man (2022) #26 while impersonating Mary Jane Watson to save her from the Emissary. (But this death is unlikely to be permanent because she's available for Krakoan resurrection, and especially as she's a rising star in the MCU.)





 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

X-Men #23 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In Bloom, the Orchis orbiting space station, Dr Stasis is capping a day of mutant-hating with a meal with clones of his wife and son who collapse when he's finished. He's shocked when confronted by what appears to be his actual long-dead wife Rebecca Essex. She tells him he's not the real Nathaniel Essex but a clone like her. Essex created 4 clones:- Mr Sinister with a diamond on his forehead, Dr Stasis with a clubs sign, Orbis Stellaris with a spades symbol and herself, red-skinned Mother Righteous with a heart on her brow, cloned from Rebecca rather than himself. The other 3 each believe themself to be the real Essex.

Now Righteous is here to claim a controlling interest in Orchis. Stasis stabs her with a drug-bearing needle but it doesn't stop her from painfully squeezing his testicles. He tries to persuade her to ally with him against the other clones but she warns him to keep away from her. Oh, and stop creating disposable clones of her and their son.

In the Bronx firefighters are waging a losing battle against a burning apartment block. Then a huge fist punches through a wall and rescues some of them who fell through the roof. It belongs to an Iron Sentinel, 1 of many created for Orchis by Feilong who has taken over Stark Unlimited and Tony Stark's tech (in the current Iron Man series). However this heroic giant robot suddenly reverts to its original programming when it detects that 1 of the firemen is a mutant and tries to literally stamp him out.

That's when members of the current X-Men group based in the Central Park Treehouse arrive to save the day. Cyclops defers to today's field leader Firestar who directs Iceman to freeze the Sentinel. But it seems immune to his power, as it does to a melting ray gun fired by tech-wizard Forge. Angel Jones redirects Bobby Drake to douse the burning building while she and Scott Summers combine forces against the foe. Cyclops also calls in help from Jean Grey, Synch and Talon, but the Sentinel also calls for backup against omega-level mutants. Forge transmits a computer-virus which corrupts the bot's system, but it's only temporarily disabled before reboooting to an uncontaminated version. It KO's Forge to stop him doing that again, and then concentrates on trying to kill the Krakoan war captain Cyclops.

The 3 requested X-persons turn up via a portal generated by Magik who accompanies them. The on/off Jean/Scott relationship is currently off but she still uses her telekinesis to save him from the Sentinel even though he's knocked out. Synch tries to use the magnetic power of Polaris to crush the bot but that doesn't work either and *he* gets splatted by a giant fist. His lover Talon (the latest id of Laura Kinney) rushes to his side and lets him copy her healing factor to recover. Magik ends the encounter spectacularly by surrounding the Iron Sentinel with a series of teleportation discs that scatters it piecemeal across the universe. Except the head which Jean Grey crushes by TK.

Orchis later claim to the public that the Stark Sentinel saved firefighters before the unprovoked attack by the X-Men. But we learn that they deliberately drew the team into battle. During the fight a mini-harpoon scratched Magik, and now they're getting a signal from nano-machines it planted in her blood. Meanwhile as well as building Iron Sentinel factories around the globe, Orchis and Feilong are constructing a private prison not far from Ryker's Island.

There's an epilogue where Emma Frost 'chats' with Wilson Fisk on Krakoa. He's allowed in because his wife Mary Walker (Typhoid Mary) is a mutant, but she warns him that it is conditional on him not returning to his villainous ways. She then informs Scott Summers that his young friend Ms Marvel was killed in New York.



Joshua Cassara
Joshua Cassara
Dee Cunniffe
Joshua Cassara (Cover Penciler)
Joshua Cassara (Cover Inker)
Marte Gracia (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Clayton Cowles.
Editor: Jordan D. White. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Cyclops
Cyclops

(Scott Summers)
Kingpin
Kingpin

(Wilson Fisk)
White Queen
White Queen

(Emma Frost)

Plus: Dr Stasis (Nathaniel Essex), Feilong (Kevin Heng), Firestar (Angel Jones), Forge, Magik (Illyana Rasputin), Mother Righteous, Synch, Talon (Laura Kinney).

> X-Men: Book info and issue index

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