Publication Date: 7th Mar 2024
Written By: Monolith.
Image Work: Douglas Mangum.


Frank Bohannon, Louis Hamilton and Martin Fletcher were mutants and patriots who used their skills to fight the Nazis during World War II. Their trio adopted colorful costumes and names suited for the times, calling themselves the Crimson Commando, Stonewall and Super Sabre. The Sabre could run faster than the speed of sound, Stonewall was an unyielding force that couldn’t be knocked down and the Commando was practically a natural-born Super-Soldier. After the war, the men put effort into defending their hometowns from criminals and depravity. They were prepared to go to war again with “The Red Menace” and take the fight to the Soviet Union, but they were ultimately directed to stand down. Having maintained official ties to the government, the trio was given orders to retire and allow the Cold War to be fought politically, rather than with military force. Reluctant to comply and unhappy with the decision, they nevertheless followed orders at first.

As decades passed, however, the three men became increasingly dissatisfied with the world outside their windows. They saw a rise in crime, drug use and other activities which they considered immoral throughout the country. While they were now well into their senior years, their mutations helped keep the three men in fighting shape. Knowing that the authorities wouldn’t appreciate their help, the trio decided to operate outside the law. And (perhaps hinting their true motivations were less than noble) they decided to make a sport of it. Instead of killing criminals outright, they first kidnapped potential targets to a hunting lodge the Commando owned in upstate New York. Victims were then released into the woods with a head start and the promise that, if they made it back to civilization, they would be free. Most criminals had no chance against a speedster, a tracker and a mass of muscle, but the game allowed Commando, Stonewall and Sabre to believe they gave their victims an honorable chance. Plus, it was fun.

[Note: Crimson Commando’s powers explicitly help maintain his vitality, but the sliding time scale makes it rougher and rougher for these men to be World War II veterans and still active.]

It is unknown for how long they operated, but their final victims were a pair of rich and privileged drug dealers from Newport named Priscilla and Tommy. The couple showed no value for human life, but their money and connections kept them from facing consequences under the law. However, the trio of veterans made several mistakes when they also snatched up Ororo Munroe, Storm of the X-Men. Storm had been investigating the arson at Sara Grey’s home when she was inadvertently knocked unconscious. Crimson Commando and his men found her with belongings on her person, and decided she was a looter. After they ran Tommy to ground and killed him, the trio decided to release Ororo and Priscilla in the woods together. Although her mutant powers were neutralized at this time, Storm was still as proud and fierce as ever. She proclaimed her innocence, but also knew they would sacrifice her regardless, “for the greater good” of their cause. Storm rejected their mockery of justice and vowed to get herself and Priscilla to safety.

Once sundown came, Crimson Commando and the others quickly learned how much they had underestimated Storm. She pushed herself and Priscilla harder and further than any prey had gone before. She also showed knowledge of tactics, plotting out the path which Super Sabre would take over even ground to find them, then placing a length of near-invisible fishing line to decapitate the overconfident speedster. Commando found the trap afterwards and read the scene, recognizing that Sabre lived only because Storm’s morals prevented her from springing it when he passed. As they conferred, Super Sabre remained cocky, Commando started taking the hunt seriously and Stonewall began to question whether they were doing the right thing. If Storm were truly innocent, then they would be stepping not only beyond the law, but calling the righteousness of their cause into question.

Unconcerned by Stonewall’s musings, Super Sabre raced ahead to the cliff face that Crimson Commando believed Storm and Priscilla were making their way towards. The cocky speedster was sure he would reach it first, but he again underestimated Storm, who was already lying in wait. However, Priscilla decided to turn against her protector once she realized Storm was unwilling to use lethal force on their pursuers. In looking out for her own skin, Priscilla pushed some rocks over the cliff, causing a landslide which enveloped Storm and Super Sabre. Commando and Stonewall found the scene later, with only Martin’s head gear and Storm’s jacket bloody and left behind.

Priscilla continued to be vicious and self-serving. She killed a couple on a mountain road to steal their car, but it ended up breaking down. Commando and Stonewall found her, but Storm had found Priscilla first and used her as bait to lure out the hunters. She upended Stonewall and tossed him into a bog to keep him out of the fight. The muck was more dangerous than she intended, though, and Stonewall’s incredible mass began sinking into the ground like quicksand. Storm risked her own life and exerted great strength to pull Stonewall to safety. Priscilla woke up and tried to murder the momentarily exhausted Storm, but Crimson Commando killed the woman instead with his throwing knives.

The final showdown came down to Storm and Crimson Commando. Wolverine arrived looking for Storm and kept Stonewall at bay, though the fight had already gone out of Louis. Despite his confidence, the Crimson Commando failed to defeat Storm. She brought him to the ground and drove one of his own knives into the dirt right next to his head. With a flick of her wrist, she could slit his throat and end his life, but Storm sought an end to the killing. Instead, she wanted Commando’s word he would turn himself in and face justice for his crimes. Otherwise, she would end him then and there. Crimson Commando was recalcitrant and committed to his cause, but Stonewall advocated for Storm’s way. He believed a jury of their peers would see the righteousness of their cause and show mercy. Commando reluctantly agreed to put faith in the justice system they abandoned, and Storm oversaw Commando and Stonewall submitting to the authorities. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #215-216]

Crimson Commando and Stonewall were sentenced for their crimes but conditionally commuted to serve in Freedom Force, a mostly mutant strike team of federal officers who were largely derived from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. It was not a smooth fit. The self-important veterans looked down on serving with mere felons working off their pardons, while the team leader Mystique pointed out the last new member Val Cooper and the Commission foisted upon them was Spider-Woman, who betrayed them. Blob and Stonewall were testing who was the more immovable object when Super Sabre surprisingly turned up. Martin had survived Priscilla’s attack on him and Storm, but it took time to recover from his injuries. When he learned about the Freedom Force deal, he presented himself for a similar sentence alongside his old comrades. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #223]

Crimson Commando, Stonewall and Super Sabre first saw action with Freedom Force after the passage of the Mutant Registration Act. Following a battle between Storm’s X-Men and the Marauders in San Francisco, the new law was applied to the outlaw heroes, and Freedom Force was tasked with executing a warrant on the X-Men. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #224] They located the X-Men at Eagle Plaza in Dallas, Texas. A fight broke out, as the X-Men were focused on Storm’s conflict with a being known as the Adversary. Super Sabre’s speed took out Dazzler, but it failed to protect him from Psylocke’s illusions. He struck at a woman who wasn’t there, careening off of Stonewall and into Avalanche from the ricochet. Crimson Commando stepped in where his friend failed thanks to his unique talent of “freeing his mind” to act without conscious thought. The Commando was unfazed by Psylocke’s telepathic double, able to approach and strike the real telepath unconscious without her even sensing his presence.

Circumstances changed once the Adversary opened a fount of chaos in the skies over Dallas. Time-shifts rippled across the city, summoning dinosaurs, cavemen, Vikings and various other threats from different time periods. The X-Men and Freedom Force called a truce in order to focus on protecting civilians from the chaos. Commando was in the midst of rallying the Texans towards sanctuary when a party of Cheyenne from the Wild West rode out to greet them. Crimson Commando met in peace with the chief, who knew of the Adversary from his people’s lore and wished to pass on information. The Adversary (disguised among the crowd) provoked the frightened people into shooting the Cheyenne out of fear. Disgusted with the civilians, Crimson Commando mourned the brave as a fellow soldier. The time came when the X-Men advanced on Eagle Plaza to take the fight to the Adversary while Freedom Force continued with crowd control. The X-Men won, but seemingly sacrificed their lives in the process. [Fall of the Mutants crossover]

Freedom Force remained in Dallas as others arrived to investigate the X-Men’s deaths. Magik and the New Mutants sought answers over the loss of their friends and, in particular, Illyana’s brother. Crimson Commando and the others fought to protect Forge, the focus of Magik’s rage. As they fought, Stonewall withstood a charge by Warlock, though he still remained vulnerable to being uprooted. Crimson Commando turned his combat prowess against the nimble Mirage, and Super Sabre threw Magik for a loop with a micro-sonic boom to her eardrums. [New Mutants (1st series) #65] The next contenders were Cyclops and Marvel Girl of X-Factor who, as adults, were subject to the Mutant Registration Act. The Commando was unfamiliar enough with a telekinetic to think holding a gun to Jean’s head gave him an advantage. After Marvel Girl kept the gun from firing, Cyclops blew it up for good measure. Jean then turned Stonewall into a projectile, knocking down Super Sabre in the process. As expected, the seasoned super-heroes fared far better than their younger apprentices. [X-Factor (1st series) #30-31]