WARPATH: Page 6 of 9

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11th September 2014
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In the aftermath of the messiah baby situation, Cyclops realized that it was no good simply reacting to threats; he needed to deal with them before they endangered anyone. So, he disbanded the ad-hock X-Force and had Wolverine set up a brand new one. Still reeling over the death of Caliban, Warpath volunteered to join the squad. Wolverine objected to his inclusion and tried to make him see sense, but James remained steadfast in his decision. With or without X-Force, he was going after the Purifiers so that he could deliver some vengeance for Caliban’s death.

Their first mission was to track down a group of Purifiers who had stolen the head of the robot, Bastion. They found the group at a church belonging to their fallen leader, William Stryker. After storming it and confronting the group, a fight broke that left most of the Purifiers dead. Their leader, Matthew Risman, managed to escape with Warpath’s friend and teammate Wolfsbane. Afterwards, X-Force cut a bloody path through various Purifier bases, torturing and killing the religious zealots until they told them where Wolfsbane was. Warpath realized that this incarnation of X-Force was vastly different to the one that had been lead by Cable. Although he struggled with the killing, he also knew that it needed to be done and that he was okay with the situation… for now. [X-Force (3rd series) #1-3]

Wolfsbane was rescued, albeit a bit too easily. It turned out she had been brainwashed, and at the first given opportunity she ripped off Angel’s wings and took them back to Matthew Risman. X-Force followed the newly risen Archangel to the Purifier base, where they stumbled into the middle of a battle between Bastion’s forces and Matthew Risman’s. Caught up in the battle, Warpath had to kill a great number of people just to stay alive. He was also on hand to save X-23 from Eli Bard, and witness the man turn into something more than human. With Wolfsbane saved, Risman dead and Bastion on the run, X-Force retreated to plan their next move. [X-Force (3rd series) #4-6]

The effects of murdering so many people weighed heavily on James’ mind. On the one hand, he had promised himself to honor Caliban’s death but on the other he was questioning whether the ends really justified the means. After a little soul searching, he decided to continue with X-Force as the world he was living in meant that it was kill or be killed for mutants. It didn’t stop him feeling guilty about what he had to do though. [X-Force: Ain’t No Dog]

As X-Force was a covert squad, operating without most of the X-Men’s knowledge, James couldn’t talk through his issues. This had a big effect on his relationship with Hepzibah, as he started to distance himself from her. He decided he needed a bit of time to himself, so he travelled to his brother’s grave. As he got close to Camp Verde, he was attacked by a Demon Bear. He would have surely been killed had it not been for the Ghost Rider showing up and helping him out. The Ghost Rider showed James a ghost dance, a ritual that allowed the participant to walk in the spirit realm to take on the dark forces. The two confronted the Demon Bear again and this time faired a lot better. James found a demonic dagger jammed into the creature’s flesh. He ripped it out and the Demon Bear dispersed, turning back into the Apache spirit gods. Grateful to be free of the corruption, they gave James a vision and showed what had happened to them. His entire tribe had been dug from their graves by Eli Bard, the man who almost killed X-23. The spirit gods showed him Bard’s entire history and that he was working for Selene, the Black Queen. Selene wanted to become a goddess and she needed to absorb mutant lifeforces to do it. Using a techno-organic virus, Bard resurrected Caliban, whose power could track mutants, and he resurrected Warpath’s entire tribe just for fun. Warpath was angry beyond belief and made it his mission to kill Bard himself.
[X-Force (3rd series) #7-11]

Norman Osborn, who had recently risen to a place of great power had decided that the X-Men were not to be trusted. He waged a war on them that resulted in their move from the main San Francisco area to a new island called Utopia, just off the coast. Warpath was given a job as part of the island’s security force. As well as watching over any prisoners the X-Men took, he was also tasked with guarding the precious food stores and the general policing of the populace. [Utopia crossover, Nation X #4, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #515]

Whilst Warpath had been away from X-Force, they had been dealing with The Right, who had stolen a vial of the Legacy Virus. The virus caused mutant powers to flare up out of control and kill the infected person. The Right were now working for Bastion, who had the virus modified and injected into a select group of mutants. They were then thrown into key places where their powers went out of control and killed thousands of people. X-Force was tasked with stopping the carnage before it got any worse. It became personal for James when his old teammate, Boom Boom, was kidnapped along with two of the X-Men’s students. Boom Boom was being held hostage by the Leper Queen whilst the other two were injected with the virus and sent out to the United Nations building. X-Force found the Leper Queen but, before they could rescue Boom Boom, they were whisked away into the future. [X-Force (3rd series) #12-13]

Ever since Cable had taken the messiah baby into the future, Cyclops had been waiting for him to return. Concerned why Cable had not, Cyclops had Beast create some time travel devices that were issued to all X-Force members and instructed to wait for them to locate Cable in the future. When they finally did so, Cyclops ordered the devices activated against Wolverine’s order and the team was taken to the far future where Cable was residing. Although they found Cable and the child, now a young girl named Hope, things became complicated when Stryfe showed up, wanting to use Hope for himself. Warpath was kidnapped along with Hope and taken back to Stryfe’s base. Stryfe tortured Warpath in a bid to find out more information on Hope and why she was considered so important to everyone else. X-Force eventually rescued them and defeated Stryfe, but Cable and Hope jumped into the time stream again in a bid to escape. After the battle, X-Force needed to return home but first had to be in the same geographical location as when they entered so they could save Boom Boom. [Messiah War Crossover]

The devices that allowed the team to travel to the future had timers and for every second they stayed too long they became increasingly ill. In a bid to save Boom Boom, Warpath tried in vain to get to the geographical location they entered the future in, but the effects of the time sickness overwhelmed him and he had to return too early. Thankfully, X-23 managed to get there and save Boom Boom before the Leper Queen executed her. Unfortunately X-23 passed out and was abducted by members of the Facility, an offshoot of the Weapon X project. Boom Boom was about to be killed by them but Warpath showed up just in time and killed the soldiers before they could do anything. [X-Force (3rd series) #17-18]

Whilst some of the team went to help X-23, Warpath and a few others went to find Wolfsbane, who was having troubles of her own. When they got to her they found her unconscious and in dire need of help. They took her back to Utopia, the X-Men’s island base, but found it overrun with mutants that were thought long deceased. Apparently, Selene had enacted her final plan and used the techno-organic virus to bring back dozens of the X-Men’s former allies and foes and corrupted their minds. As X-Force fought their way through the undead mutants, Warpath was brought face-to-face with his deceased former-lover Risque. Whilst trying to fight off the TO control, she informed him that Bard was the one who brought her back. X-Force soon realized what the deal was when Selene teleported her inner circle of mutants onto Utopia to retrieve the demon dagger Warpath had taken out of the Demon Bear a few weeks earlier. They laid waste to the X-Men, killing some and injuring many more. Bard told Warpath the bloodbath would continue until he had the dagger, and so James reluctantly handed it over. However, when the inner circle left, they took Warpath with them as a prisoner.

Selene had set herself up on the ruined island of Genosha and had the many deceased there brought back to serve in her army. Warpath was confronted by his brother, whom Selene had kept close to her. Selene was ready to cast the final spell that would make her a goddess and Thunderbird used some of Warpath’s blood to inscribe sigils for her spell. However, even though his actions were under Selene’s control, Thunderbird managed to give Warpath the information he needed to kill Selene once and for all. He then begged for his brother to kill him before it was too late. Warpath was saved by the Vanisher, who took him back to X-Force, where he revealed he knew how to take Selene down.

As Selene cast the spell and became a goddess, Warpath had all of X-Force perform the ghost dance and enter the spirit world. There they confronted Selene and the remaining undead mutants. Warpath squared off his against his brother and snapped his neck, collecting the demon blade off his body afterwards. He then used the blade to deliver the killing blow to Selene and end her plans once and for all. As all the undead mutants returned to the afterlife, Warpath was able to speak to his brother and finally bring his mission of vengeance to an end. [Necrosha crossover]

After that, Warpath left X-Force, as he had finally made peace with his demons, but still remained with the X-Men. Later, when Cyclops and Wolverine went their separate ways, he decided to remain on Utopia with Cyclops’ X-Men. As part of the security detail, he helped break up a deal to sell Sentinels on the black market, as well as help track down Jubilee when a clan of vampires seemingly kidnapped her. [Schism crossover, X-Men (3rd series) #20-27]

When the Phoenix Force returned to Earth, the Avengers and X-Men went to war as they were of opposing views on how to handle it. In the carnage, the island of Utopia was severely damaged and most of Cyclops’ X-Men, including Warpath, joined Wolverine’s X-Men at the Jean Grey School. [Avengers vs. X-Men crossover]

Warpath has laid low since he relocated to the school. His relationship with Hepzibah seems to be over, as she has reconnected with the resurrected Corsair and joined him back in space.