Domino (1st series) #1

Issue Date: 
January 1997
Story Title: 
Rise and Fall

Ben Raab (writer), David Perrin (penciler), Harry Candelario (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Joe Rosas (colors), Mark Bernardo (editor), Bob Harras (chief)

Brief Description: 

Somewhere beneath a desert in the United States, Milo Thurman resides as a prisoner of the government; his jailer being Henry Peter Gyrich, who isn’t happy that Milo failed to pick up on a recent event, which was of great interest to the government. Milo is a gifted early-warning system, his hyper-developed brain being a great asset to Gyrich. He warns him to get with the program or he’ll be cut loose. As he departs, another more sinister antagonist enters his cell. Domino, meanwhile, is enjoying the carnival in Rio de Janeiro when she is attacked by a midget in a jester’s outfit. She kicks his butt and realizes it’s an old X-Force villain called Pico, who has a new employer. Her old friend, Puck, arrives and shows her a holographic image of her former lover, Milo, who is in a whole lot of trouble. She forces Pico to squeal and goes off to rescue Milo. Arriving at the desert facility, she manages to break in, taking out several guards and a couple of Mandroids on the way but finds Milo’s cell empty. Unfortunately, someone else is there, someone who is big trouble.

Full Summary: 

Somewhere beneath a remote part of the United States, Milo Thurman sits surrounded by an ashtray, a book (Dante’s Inferno) and some domino’s lined up in a wavy line. He lists historical figures; Ramses the second, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Boneparte, Otto Von Bismarck, Suleiman the Magnificent, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Emperor Hirohito, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Nikita Kruschev, Erik Magnus Lensherr, Charles Francis Xavier and Onslaught. He picks up a domino and, taking a drag on his cigarette, he says that, if the past teaches the future anything, it is that the tragic nature of all empires, however great or small, is to rise… and fall. The dominos tumble and Milo stubs his cigarette out.

The door to his cell slides open and the silhouette of Henry Gyrich enters. Milo tells him that he should remember that lesson, as it might save his tyrant career someday. However, Gyrich reminds him who’s keeping his sorry butt alive and reprimands him for not having warned them about something that happened recently. Milo is an early warning system but, to Gyrich, he is a bigger waste of taxpayer’s money than Chelsea Clinton’s braces. He tells Milo, “So the next time that hyper-developed brain of yours tracks a critical juncture in the shifting paranormal balance of power, you report it to me, immediately, or you get cut loose. Clear?” Crystal, replies Milo.

As he leaves, Gyrich says it’s a pity as he was looking forward to putting down a mongrel like him personally. With Gyrich gone, Milo decides to return to his book, Inferno, and reads a passage as someone else enters his cell. Her fingers are extended into claws and she says his name. Milo turns and says, “Beatrice?”

(Rio de Janeiro)

The carnival is in full swing and Domino, wearing only the skimpiest of green bikinis and black thigh-length boots, dances the night away amongst a throng of colourfully dressed revellers. She is known for often being wound a little too tight and is taking advantage of an opportunity to finally loosen up. If only Cable could see her now, she thinks, he’d probably have a hissy fit about her letting her guard down. It’s been an age since the last time she put her life behind her; surrendered herself to drinking, dancing and scantily-clad men drooling over her bad self.

She finishes her dance and moves away from the crowds, thinking about men, when a midget dressed in a jesters outfit cartwheels past her, asking her to dance with him. She tells him she’s sorry, but this diva is taking a powder from the party. The midget insists that he allow her the next twirl and promises her she will have a most electrifying time. He produces a kind of energy whip from each arm and suddenly attacks Domino, who leaps away from danger, thinking that this vacation just took a turn for the weird.

As she flees from the danger, the jester tells her to give it up; lover boy Cable isn’t coming to her rescue this time. He looks around to find she’s vanished but glances upwards to find Domino edging her way along a telephone cable to a nearby rooftop. She thinks that the midget’s voice is hollow, yet strangely familiar. She gets to the rooftop but is aghast to find him already standing there waiting for her. He tells her that his new boss doesn’t want any grief from x-dweebs like her, so he’s gonna make sure he gets none. With telescopic legs (Stilt-Man style), he thrusts himself at her, waving the electrified whips in front of him but Domino realizes that he’s played his hand too soon and grabs his mask as she avoids his attack. She’s shocked to discover that her attacker is… Pico?

His face is a mess and he sports a face mask which covers most of it. He informs her that he now has cybernetics, just betting that she and her boyfriend yukked it up after his untimely demise when he left him breathing out of the back of his neck after rescuing her. Well, he has news for her; he’s back and he’s twice as nasty. Domino smacks him in the face, which sends him reeling, but his stilt legs keep him upright and he faces her once again. “Oh, I’m sorry, did I hit a nerve?” she teases but he replies that he got used to her lip back when she was decorating Tolliver’s basement wall. He tells her she’s out of luck but, reacting instinctively, she produces several shuriken from nowhere and hurls them at her assailant. Twirling his whip at speed, he manages to deflect them as Domino wonders who could have helped him. Whoever it was, they’re no stranger to cutting edge cybernetics.

As Pico slowly approaches, she thinks back to her Six Pack days and recalls something that Cable used to pound into their heads; hi-tech problems require low-tech solutions. She reaches round to the cable attached to the roof, just as Pico launches another attack. Just as he reaches her, Domino manages to wrap the wire around his arms, thereby rendering his energy whips useless. She ties his arms behind his back and warns him that he’d better sing fast, cos’ the more he cuts into her downtime, the more body parts she’s gonna use his funky ticklers to cut off. Helpless, Pico stutters his words, telling her he was just playing, but she replies it’s not her idea of fun and games. She asks who sent him but he sweats profusely, saying that he can’t tell or he’ll kill him. He doesn’t wanna die again. Suddenly, from behind her, another voice says, “Punks like that sure give us vertically challenged folks a bad name, eh?” She looks around and recognizes her old friend immediately.

Meanwhile, Henry Gyrich returns to see Milo Thurman in his cell. As he wanders into the compound on his way to getting a DNA scan from a couple of guarding Mandroids, he thinks that, with the Avengers and Fantastic Four gone, anyone with the proper resources could take advantage of their absence. He enters the cell and is shocked to find it empty. He asks the computer where on Earth Thurman is but the computer tells him that he is in containment cell delta-thirteen. That’s where he’s standing, so he asks the computer who gave the order to deactivate the security grid in the cell. It replies that the deactivation command was logged in by authorization code Alpha-Iota-Mu; designate: Henry Peter Gyrich. They have an intruder and Gyrich calls for all stations to go on red alert.

Back in Brazil, Domino is delighted to see her old friend, Puck. “Nice to see you, Eugene,” she says with a smile. Puck replies that, as far as Brazilian Customs is concerned, the name’s Belmont, but she can always call him Puck. She picks him up and asks him what in the world he’s doing here. “C’mon now Neena, if I told ya, y’know I’d haveta kill ya.”

Greetings over with, the pair of them sit on the rooftop with a clear night sky providing the backdrop. Domino holds Pico upside down by the cable, swinging him back and forth as she chats to Puck. She says the name’s Beatrice these days and he asks where she picked that one up. Her face drops as she replies that it was from the “One that got away.” Anyway, she adds, this isn’t a social call is it? Puck produces a miniature gadget with a holographic projector and says he’s afraid not. He poked his nose into some of Department H’s affairs he probably shouldn’t have. He lights up the projector and Milo Thurman’s face appears. He asks Domino if she recognizes him. Of course, she does and she asks what’s happened to him, what’s wrong? He puts his arms around her, having never seen her as spooked as this. He asks who the Rastafari is. “Aww, he’s nobody Judd, just the one that got away.”

A tear edges its way down her cheek as she turns to Puck and tells him to try not to laugh but, once upon a time, Dr. Milo Thurman was her world; she’s talking love with a capital L. He assures her there’s nothing funny there; she has a heart as big as the moon but is just afraid to show it. While he hates to break her heart, she should know that something fishy is going down inside the department and her buddy’s due for a streak of seriously bad luck, soon. She asks what he means and he replies, “Termination.” She assures Puck that Milo’s luck is about to change.

Domino makes her way to the desert, presumably on the reluctant word of Pico. While the cover of night blankets the desolate land, a nigh-on impossible mission begins. Domino is dressed in a tight body suit and uses some night-vision binoculars to scope the compound. Three guards stand outside chatting. They appear to have beefed up security since she was last here, back in the days when she was stationed here undercover. Something must have really hit the fan. She makes her way closer and moves onto the building’s roof. As she slides down a rope towards them, she manages to take all three out before she reaches them, with poison tipped darts fired from a tube she carries in her mouth.

As she lands, she thinks it’s weird. Not only did she never expect to return to this hellhole, but she certainly never thought her and Milo’s paths would ever cross again. She removes her headgear, wondering how he’s been and whether he still feels the same about her. Her thoughts are a mess but she tries to concentrate on the task at hand, focusing on decrypting the lock. She’s feeling nervous as a small device she carries works on the control panel. It’s M.I.A. She’s never seen that encryption before but military codes never change, not unless an installation has been compromised from within. But who else besides Uncle Sam knows about this place?

Out of nowhere, two giant golden Mandroids appear and warn her to halt as this is a restricted area. She feigns submission and tells them that she’s going to reach down real slow and lay her weapons on the ground. She brings her hands down to her holsters and whips two phasers out. As she fires, she knows they’ll barely scratch the surface of their armor but she fires nonetheless. Things have a habit of falling into place for her. She cartwheels as the blasts ricochet from wall to Mandroid to wall again and her gambit is justified as a blast catches a Mandroid from behind and forces him to take out his partner. Domino knows that had to hurt and hated doing it, but she has a political prisoner to rescue. So, she heads inside the building, only to find numerous dead bodies lining the corridors. It reeks of death. She remembers Cable telling her that, “You’ve seen one disembowelled corpse, you’ve seen ‘em all.” As a merc, she saw plenty but she still gets sick from the stench, and only hopes that Milo had the good sense to get out of there before someone turned the place into a slaughterhouse.

She passes more Mandroids crumpled against the walls and notices claw marks on their armor. She wonders what could be sharp enough to slash titanium. Moving into the room that once held her former lover, she realizes that Milo is indeed long gone but can’t believe he left behind his prized possession, Dante’s Inferno. He used to read it to her for hours on end. She reads a passage from the book, “I was a soul among the souls of limbo, when a lady so blessed and so beautiful…” Another voice completes her sentence for her; “And so deadly!” Domino turns to see the ominous figure of a feared opponent standing before her. She asks where Milo is and what she’s done to him. She replies that she’s done nothing to her precious heart, save deliver him to his destiny. Now, she will deliver Domino unto death, “So vows Lady Deathstrike!”

Characters Involved: 


Milo Thurman

Henry Peter Gyrich

Lady Deathstrike

Rio Carnaval revellers




Installation Guards


Milo Thurman

Story Notes: 

All the people Milo Thurman mentions in the beginning are real, apart from Professor Xavier, Onslaught and Erik Magnus Lensherr, who is Magneto, though there has long been speculation that this may not be his real name. The ‘incident’ Gyrich mentions he should have been warned about is presumably the loss of the heroes against Onslaught.

Dante Alighieri was an Italian poet, author and academic, born in the mid 13th century. Inferno is amongst the best known of his works along with the Divine Comedy and La Commedia.

Domino’s real name, Neena, is revealed in this issue.

Pico was last seen in X-Force #14 being blasted by Cable. Then, he held energy whips in his hands but here, due to Donald Pierce’s cybernetic rebuilding, the whips are actually part of his body. His previous employer was Tolliver.

Issue Information: 
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