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

Biography - Part 3

Frank Bohannon volunteered (or was volunteered) for a special form of cybernetic super-soldier enhancement to address his wounds. Care Labs, in coordination with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the government, used experimental bionics to replace Commando’s missing limbs and repair his damaged skull and sensory organs. He was re-classified as Cyborg X as Doctor Oscar McDonnell and the rest of the team worked to restore him to functionality, giving him back his life while also making him still useful for the government covert operations program. However, an accident with his sensory programming caused Cyborg X to run amok. His mechanically maintained senses began flashing back repeatedly to the events in the Middle East which caused his trauma. At war with his own memories, Cyborg X broke free from Care Labs and stumbled into a nearby shopping mall. His rampage caught the attention of Spider-Man and Ghost Rider, who sought to end his flailing without anybody else getting hurt. [Spider-Man (1st series) #18]

After being buried in a collapsing building at the end of the fight, Cyborg X’s systems slowly repaired themselves, giving him time to recover his senses. With Spider-Man’s bio-rhythms still in his records, Cyborg X zeroed in on the web-slinger after a fight with the Sinister Six and brought him back to Care Labs for treatment. Cyborg X was still being repaired himself with the Sinister Six attacked the lab and massacred their way through the scientists while looking for technology to steal. Cyborg X was found by Spider-Man, seemingly dead in the chaos. [Spider-Man (1st series) #21]

[Note: Cyborg X’s identity was subtly implied in the comics. The nature of his injuries and having suffered them as a soldier in the Middle East were consistent. The kicker was how during his “episodes” Cyborg X called out to “Martin” and “Dominic” as he flashed back to the incident which scarred him. Before Peter David’s X-Factor was approved, Erik Larsen made his own presentation for a new X-Factor to replace Freedom Force. Joining characters like Havok and Polaris were Pyro and Crimson Commando, now a cyborg. Larsen wrote the above Spider-Man stories and, after creating Image’s Savage Dragon, imported his final design for the Commando to create Freak Force’s Superpatriot for that title.]

Bohannon eventually recovered and was outfitted with less complicated cybernetics that were easier to control. He became simply “Commando,” claiming everything “crimson” had bled out of him in the Middle East. While Freedom Force was no more, the members’ pardon deals were still applicable, and so Commando and Avalanche remained partners and were reassigned to the government’s Project: Wideawake to continue fulfilling their service. As it happened, though, their first mission was to reconnect with Blob and Pyro, who had rejoined the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants after being abandoned. The Brotherhood had aligned themselves with Jonathan Chambers, Empyrean, a man running his private island as a safe haven for other mutants suffering from the Legacy virus. Both the X-Men and Henry Peter Gyrich of Wideawake followed on their heels, but none of the parties could allay their suspicions over exactly how Empyrean benefited from this haven. [X-Men (2nd series) Annual #2]

At first, it seemed like Avalanche and Commando returned to service with Wideawake after the Brotherhood discovered their allegiance. They were requisitioned by Colonel Jefferson Malone of the Magneto Protocols. Malone previously made aggressive moves to capture X-Factor’s Polaris to use her as a weapon against Magneto. When Polaris sought him out, he tried to use Commando and Avalanche as protection against her and Random. However, his superior Beatrice Connors arrived and overrode Malone’s authority, putting Avalanche and Commando back under her command as Malone committed suicide rather than face a court-martial for his overreaching activities. Commando was indifferent over whose side he was meant to be on, considering it all for the paycheck by this point. [X-Factor (1st series) #102]

This disillusionment may explain why Avalanche and especially Commando were soon seen back on Empyrean’s island with the Brotherhood. Avalanche’s guilt over leaving Blob and Pyro behind only intensified upon learning Pyro had the Legacy virus as well. Commando’s motivations were less clear – perhaps he simply had nowhere else to go. When Chambers learned the X-Men invented a “Time Glider” to retroactively stop the spread of the Legacy virus, he felt the need to act. Empyrean provided succor to inflicted mutants by draining their powers to prevent the “flare ups” caused by the virus, but was also storing their energies over time on the path to personal power. In the name of “protecting the timeline,” he sent Commando to steal the Time Glider before the X-Men could use it. Commando proved to be a talented infiltration specialist thanks to his internal sensors and ability to submerge his psionic signature enough to be ignored by Professor Xavier. He still caught the attention of Cyclops when he snagged the Time Glider, though, prompting the X-Men to follow him to Empyrean’s island.

As the Brotherhood held off the X-Men’s assault, the fast-talking Chambers convinced Commando that he needed to use the Time Glider, not merely keep it from the X-Men. Empyrean believed that once every mutant on Earth was infected with the Legacy virus, he could reign supreme by absorbing power from them all, leaving them dependent on him to stave off the virus’s spread in their bodies while constantly feeding his need for power. Chambers tried to pressure Commando into using the Time Glider for him, claiming he and he alone was responsible for preventing Bohannon from contracting the virus on his island, and so Commando was in his debt. The blackmail failed when Beast arrived first to reclaim his invention and Empyrean desperately tried to use the Time Glider himself. Chambers was deposited into prehistoric times and the Time Glider was recalled into the present without him. Commando and the Brotherhood would depart the island soon after, as their host was no longer available. [X-Men: Time Gliders #1-4]

After Empyrean’s island was abandoned and the Brotherhood broke up, Commando faded into obscurity for many years. He was one of the millions of mutants who lost his powers to the Decimation and suffered greatly as a result. Frank Bohannon’s cybernetic implants were built around the heightened functionality provided by his mutant power. Without it, his body began rejecting the cybernetics and slowly dying. [House of M #8, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #539] Under unrelated circumstances, Stonewall and Super Sabre were temporarily brought back to life by the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. Selene gained control of a techno-organic virus which she used to resurrect dead mutants as nigh-unkillable servants in her bid for power. Louis and Martin joined numerous dead mutants in assaulting the X-Men’s base of operations on the island Utopia. Selene’s endgame was to use all the mutants she resurrected as sacrifices to achieve ultimate power, but she was defeated and many reportedly escaped. It’s unknown if Stonewall and Super Sabre were among them and, to date, they have not reappeared on Krakoa either. [Necrosha event]

In time, the “mutant messiah” Hope Summers emerged, purportedly with the power to undo the effects of the Decimation. By this point, Commando was on the verge of death, physically supported by his cybernetics yet in constant pain and uncertain when they would give out. He hired a team of mercenaries to help him kidnap Hope. In his desperation, Commando was willing to vivisect Hope to find out what made her special and uncover anything to save his life. Still, Hope resisted his attempts at torture and interrogation until Wolverine tracked them down for the X-Men. Even Commando’s mercenaries didn’t have the firepower necessary to bring down Wolverine. Logan cut Frank Bohannon’s head off with his claws, ending the pain and torment which marked the last days of the Crimson Commando. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #539]

With Necrosha and Krakoa, there have been several opportunities for Crimson Commando, Stonewall, and Super Sabre to return to the land of the living. However, their current statuses have not been confirmed and it’s unclear whether we’ve seen the last of this World War II era trio of mutants.