Dark Reign: The List - X-Men #1: Review

Sep 2009
Matt Fraction, Alan Davis

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Dark Reign: The List - X-Men #1 Review by (May 1, 2018)
This is the 3rd of the Dark Reign: The List single-issues after DRL:Avengers and DRL:Daredevil. We haven't actually seen a physical list of targets yet (wait until the next episode DRL:Secret Warriors) but Norman Osborn gave a spoken 1 in DRL:Av. Clint Barton/Ronin was on that and he was the subject of DRL:Av. Daredevil came out of nowhere for DRL:DD. And in DRL:Av Osborn said the mutant situation was already solved, so DRL:XM is another add-in. (DRL:SW will involve Nick Fury, who *was* on the spoken list.)

This issue also includes a reprint of Matt Fraction's 1st work for Marvel, a Wolverine tale from X-Men Unlimited #9.

Osborn has come straight from DRL:DD Sentry was last in New Av Annual #3, the sequel to DRL:Av. Victoria Hand's last app was in Captain America: Reborn.

Sub-Mariner was also in CA:Reborn, followed by the 2010 Cloak & Dagger 1-shot with other X-Men. He stayed with them for the Nation X: X-Factor 1-shot (part of the loose collection of stories set in the new Nation X) and X-Force (2008) #22 (part of the Necrosha event).

The various X-Men were each last seen in those and related stories.

Marrina was part of Alpha Flight from their 1st issue. She met and married Namor in an AF#39-40/Av#272 crossover, and they left their respective teams. But they returned to both become Avengers in Av#282, until Marrina became Leviathan and was 'killed' in Av#293. She was reported merely comatose in AF#78, but her spirit (or something) appeared in Namor (1990) #61, and then sleeping Leviathan was seen as a captive of the Master of the World in Av(1998)#47.

When the Atlanteans dispersed at the end of the Sub-Mariner: Revolution series the civilians supposedly took breathing potions and hid among humans. This aspect seems to have been forgotten about now.

Marrina will return from the dead as herself along with other dead Alpha Flight members in Chaos War: AF. The reunited old AF will have their own 2011 series starting in the Fear Itself event.

Meanwhile back in Dark Reign Norman Osborn and Victoria Hand will continue into DRL:Secret Warriors. Sentry will wait a bit longer until Dark Avengers Annual #1.

Sub-Mariner teams up with his old Invaders pals the android Human Torch and his brought-back-to-life sidekick Toro in the Torch limited series.Then he'll be back with the X-Men for the XM vs Agents of Atlas mini and a couple of other issues before in Uncanny XM #519-521 a home is built for the Atlanteans beneath Utopia (which also helps to stop the island from sinking).
During this period the XM continue the Nation X stories (of which this issue is considered to be a part).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Dark Reign: The List - X-Men #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In the Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia event the X-Men took all mutants out of Norman Osborn's jurisdiction by raising Magneto's original Asteroid M from the ocean floor, turning it into an island and declaring it an independent state Utopia. Osborn was particularly unhappy because Emma Frost and Sub-Mariner, members of his Cabal and his Dark X-Men, proved to be traitors.

Now Norman shows a pile of files to his right-hand woman Victoria Hand. They contain plans to deal with particular characters, to be used if they become serious threats. He opens the 1 dedicated to Namor, in case of war with Atlantis.

It transpires that he has Subby's alien (Plodex) ex-wife Marrina who became a rampaging monster dubbed Leviathan (when she gave birth to her young in Avengers #291-293 and Namor was forced to kill her - but in Alpha Flight #78 she was revealed to be not dead but sleeping). Osborn's scientists have added shark genes, and tweaked her system so she hungers for Atlantean blood - and the more of it she consumes the bigger and hungrier she gets.

Victoria protests that Atlantis isn't at war and there's no percentage in unleashing the Leviathan at this time. But Osborn wants revenge against Namor, and releases the beast.

Leviathan strikes an Atlantean colony in the South China Sea, destroying their homes with beams from its eyes and killing all the folk. Some of the bodies wash ashore. Sub-Mariner takes a dead female to Utopia and says he knows of 5 attacks in 9 days. He doesn't know how many Atlanteans have died. And because his people are scattered all over the world (since Atlantis was destroyed in his 2007 Revolution mini-series) he can't defend them with the Atlantean army currently based in Latveria (since the same limited series).

(Note that more mutants are seen in a crowd scene here including Graymalkin, Erg, Anole and Hepzibah. Some say the female with her back to us is Armor, but the costume doesn't seem right.)

Namor is consulting with Cyclops, Doctor Nemesis, Emma Frost and Psylocke. He emphasises that whatever it is kills only Atlanteans, no other sea life. Dr Nemesis suggests that someone has engineered a lifeform to do that. Cyclops studies a display of the 5 attacks and notes that the enemy is heading towards them. He concocts a plan. Namor should gather Atlanteans here to create a large scent pool. Then Magik and Pixie can teleport them away while the beast is lured here to be destroyed.

Emma (still trapped in her diamond form since the Utopia event) tells Sub-Mariner they'll help him in repayment for the help he gave *them* then. But King Namor is too proud too accept aid. Until she follows him out to a balcony to talk him round, because he's a mutant and mutants help each other.

That night loads of Atlanteans swim to the island's shore and 2 glowing portals created by Pixie and Magik. Which take them half the world away to the coast of Norway. (Despite the Atlantean diaspora it seems Namor has rounded up all the mermen in the Pacific Ocean.)

A select group of X-Men wait with Subby as the armoured sea-serpent approaches. And Namor recognises his ex-wife's form. The 3 Stepford Cuckoos read its mind but can only detect hunger, rage and hate. Psylocke mind-melds with Iceman to amplify his power and he freezes the ocean around the beast, but it breaks free. Colossus fastballs Wolverine at the monster while Angel drops Surge onto it. Logan slashes its eyes while Surge gives it jolts of electricity. Then Angel takes Wolvie away while Nightcrawler bamfs in to port Surge to safety after leaving a bomb.

The explosion only seems to anger Leviathan further. It lunges at the group on the shore. The X-Men scatter and Sub-Mariner grabs its head and takes it into the sky. Apparently he needed to get her out of the water. He flies her to the Mariana Trench and then dives down. He calms the beast with thoughts of when they were happy together as they sink deeper into the Trench, until presumably the pressure kills her.

Norman Osborn is in an Oscorp building in Los Angeles with Sentry, the most powerful of the Dark Avengers he leads as Iron Patriot. A minion rushes in with a warning that something's going to smash into the building - when it does. Sub-Mariner has delivered the corpse of Leviathan. Osborn tells his H.A.M.M.E.R. troops to stand down as Namor threatens Norman, but then presumably leaves.

Later the Atlanteans are ported back from Norway. And Cyclops and Emma Frost welcome Namor (and his people) home.

Alan Davis
Mark Farmer
Nathan Fairbairn
Alan Davis (Cover Penciler)
Mark Farmer (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Joe Caramagna.
Editor: Nick Lowe. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Warren Worthington)

(Piotr Rasputin)

(Scott Summers)
Iron Patriot
Iron Patriot

(Norman Osborn)

(Kurt Wagner)
White Queen
White Queen

(Emma Frost)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Doctor Nemesis (Michael Stockton), H.A.M.M.E.R., Magik, Marrina, Pixie (Megan Gwynn), Psylocke, Stepford Cuckoos, Surge, Victoria Hand.

> Dark Reign: The List - X-Men: Book info and issue index

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