By Ben Morse
While Scott Summers lives it up in San Francisco as Cyclops, his two space-faring brothers have seen better days, as will be made evident beginning in December with the four-part limited series X-MEN: KINGBREAKER, a new cosmic tale written by Christopher Yost that leads directly into 2009's War of Kings mega event.
At the conclusion of X-MEN: EMPEROR VULCAN earlier this year, Vulcan, aka the power-mad youngest Summers, Gabriel, had solidified his rule over the Shi'ar Empire and imprisoned his older brother Alex, aka Havok, and the majority of the Starjammers dissidents. So why haven't these triumphs brought a smile to Vulcan's scarred visage?
"The people love him, the Empire is united behind him, and as he promised, he's expanding, [but] all this success still hasn't made Vulcan happy," explains Yost. "This is one messed up kid who was truly wronged, but instead of standing up and becoming a hero, he became a greater villain."
With power not bringing him satisfaction—or inspiring him towards more noble ends—Vulcan remains deadly concentrated on more personal goals, as Yost elaborates:
"He's killed two out of his three 'fathers' and is still aiming for Professor Xavier, but right now he's focused on breaking Havok, whose refusal to break is driving Vulcan crazy
—well, crazier, as the case may be."
But while Vulcan fills much of his days and nights torturing his big bro as well as Havok's lover, Polaris, and Starjammers teammates Raza and Ch'od, the aforementioned Shi'ar expansion also remains a high priority, one that will drag the Empire and their unstable ruler into War of Kings.
"The Shi'ar are back to their aggressive, conquering ways and Vulcan is at the forefront," reiterates Yost. "For his own reasons, he's determined to make the Shi'ar the preeminent force in the universe.
"But Vulcan is about to expand into space that the Shi'ar traditionally have left alone. Some support this, other see danger looming."
This ambitious but arguably reckless strategy will bring the Shi'ar into contact with the rest of Marvel's cosmic heavyweights, including Nova, the Guardians of the Galaxy and even the Inhumans when War of Kings launches—but before that, Vulcan has yet more problems of his own to deal with in the form of the Starjammers still at large and looking to liberate their imprisoned brethren.
"Marvel Girl, Lilandra and Korvus [are] still free," notes Yost. "Now more than ever, their goal remains unchanged. Whereas before it was personal for Havok, now it's personal for all
of them. By the time it's all over, they'll either be the tightest, most bonded group of X-Men ever, or they'll be dead."
Of course all this just scratches the surface of what to expect when X-MEN: KINGBREAKER debuts just in time for the holidays, as Yost gives a tantalizing mini-preview of what's to come:
"Death, torture, intergalactic war, revenge, jailbreaks, the hunt for the Phoenix, a team of superpowered alien murderers, brother versus brother, and the lead in to what could be the greatest cosmic event of all time."
For more of the latest news coming out of Toronto Fan Expo 2008, visit Marvel.com's hub page!