Domino (1st series) #2

Issue Date: 
February 1997
Story Title: 
Death be a Lady Tonight

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

Brief Description: 

Faced with a powerful adversary such as Lady Deathstrike, Domino has her work cut out and uses verbal taunts to try and keep her opponent off balance while she tries to think of a way out of the situation. Eventually, she is caught in Deathstrike’s vise-like grip and threatens the cyborg with a couple of thermite detonators. Unfortunately, they are knocked from her grip but, luckily for Domino, they bounce off the wall and land right beneath Deathstrike, blowing a hole in the floor, which Deathstrike falls through. Domino recalls meeting Milo Thurman for the first time in this very facility and, back then, she fell for him immediately. Meanwhile, while Domino heads through this facility, in the Yukon, Skullbuster takes orders from his boss, preparing their prisoner, Milo for the cybernetic conversion process. It’s agony for him and the only name he can think about is Beatrice’s. Domino sets a charge to destroy the facility but is once again attacked by Lady Deathstrike, who survived the earlier blast, though her left leg is in tatters and much of her skin has been burnt off. They struggle, long enough for Domino not to escape before the bomb rips through the complex, destroying it. In the Yukon the next day, Domino wakes up feeling really bad, and things don’t improve when she discovers that she is the prisoner of Donald Pierce.

Full Summary: 

(The desert)

Lady Deathstrike confronts Domino. She is a cyborg, an amalgam of flesh and circuitry, made so by a procedure so gruelling, most do not survive the transformation. Those who survive, like Deathstrike, become ruthless, relentless; unstoppable. She leaps towards Domino, telling her that her beloved Dr. Thurman is no longer with us and, in a moment, neither will she. Domino falls back, blasting her point blank with her weapon. She makes light of Deathstrike’s attack, trying to throw her opponent off balance. “Big talk from a woman who looks like death warmed over, Lady! Guess a good hard whack with the ugly stick’ll do that to a person huh? But didja really have to go back for seconds.”

Domino knows she has her work cut out. She tells herself to keep the patter up; maybe it’ll take her mind off Milo. Not! She swears that if this ‘Ghost in the Shell’ wannabe has harmed a single hair on his nappy dreadlocked head, she’ll scrap her for spare parts. Deathstrike takes the blast in her stride, saying that Domino moves and fights well for a gaijin, but it’s as plain to see that she and her toys can do her no serious damage. Her wounds are already beginning to knit themselves together, as she extends her cyborg arm to Domino’s face and closes her vise-like fingers around her throat. Domino can hardly breathe. Deathstrike wonders how long it’ll take to deplete her foes brain of the oxygen it so desperately requires; how long before she becomes a mindless, drooling lump of flesh. Dom continues the jokes, replying that her calendar’s free and she can go all night if she wants. Deathstrike grins, saying that she’ll be dead long before dawn.

Sweat trickles down Dom’s face. She tells Deathstrike that she can kill her, but she should know one thing; “If I go down, you’re coming with me!” She reveals two thermite explosives hidden in the palm of her hand but Deathstrike knocks them free with her spare hand, telling Domino that she not only tries her patience, but now insults her honor as a warrior. She pushes Domino against a wall, her fingers still maintaining their grip on Domino’s throat. She taunts Domino, saying that her ex-lover as been disposed of. Soon, this entire facility shall be naught but a bureaucrat’s faded memory and Domino shall perish with it. Unseen by Deathstrike, the thermite explosives hit a nearby wall and rebound, luckily, right back to where they came from.

Domino sees them by her assailant’s feet and realizes what is about to happen. Deathstrike wonders why her opponent’s manner has changed but, upon seeing the charges beneath her, tells Dom that it appears she has sealed her own fate. Domino teases her about her impending destruction but Deathstrike is resilient, saying there is nothing that she can do to stop her. Domino smiles at her and simply wishes her goodbye, or as they say in her native Japan, “Sayonara sucker!” The explosions throw Domino several yards but she remains relatively unscathed by the incident. She is one L.U.C.K.Y. gal. Amongst the rubble, she bends down to pick up the book Thurman always read; Dante’s Inferno. As she skips away from the scene, she thinks that it’s funny, as she always thought she was the one who had trouble moving on. She sprints along a tunnel. Being down there is pretty weird for her, and not just because Deathstrike turned it into a charnel pit. This was the place there she first fell in love; but this is a different time and she is a different person now.


A younger, shorter-haired Domino sprints along the tunnel, past a couple of scientists, and looking like she’s in a big hurry. Her C.O. has assigned her to a scut job that none of the other security officers wanted. It is her duty to guard some egghead so proficient at analyzing historical trends of the past, he can make nearly 100% accurate predictions about the outcome of the future. This gift not only makes him extremely valuable to the government, but also very dangerous to be around. She arrives at his door, readies her weapon and enters his room, standing silhouetted in the doorway. She knows that Milo Thurman is no clairvoyant and he sure as heck isn’t a mutant. He’s smart, plain and simple. She wanders into the room and, on a large rug, finds some kebabs cooking on a small barbecue, a bottle of champagne and some candles providing the atmosphere. Dominoes stand in curved lines around the room, waiting to be toppled. Milo knows he’s smart, she thinks, and maybe that’s one of the reasons she is so attracted to him, sometimes.

Behind her, the cigar-smoking Milo tells her he did the math on this one. Calling her Beatrice, he tells her that someday she’s gonna be on a shadow op in Rio during carnival. She’s gonna fall madly in love over a bottle of Dom Perignon with a dark, handsome, expatriated genius. He asks what she thinks of that. Domino grabs him and throws him onto the floor. She yells at Milo, saying that she doesn’t like people predicting the direction her life might take someday and he should know that she hates the name Beatrice. She straddles him, warning him that if he ever wants to see the outside of this facility again, from above ground level, he should stop calling her that. “Whatever you say, my lovely little Domino.”

She stands, twirling her pistol around, telling him to listen and listen good. Sophomoric pet names may have won the prom queen and the captain of the cheerleading squad over, but he’s gonna have to try a lot harder to win her heart. Milo reclines on the rug, saying that he knows. “Dom Perignon?” Domino walks slowly over to him and as a candle slowly burns away, something tells her she’s gonna regret this.

Several hours later, the candle is almost gone. Domino holds the champagne, asking Milo to tell her again how he ended up there. It cracks her up how bad his luck is. He decides to tell her anyway, despite the teasing. He started tracking sports; baseball, football, basketball, everything and before he knew it, he made lots of friends, and those friends made lots of cash from his predictions. He got to the point where he got cocky and thought the law couldn’t touch him. Unfortunately, he hacked into a top secret government database and got busted predicting encryption code sequences. Well, he tells Dom, he then made some new friends in very high places. He turns the questioning around to her. Why all the guns and grenades and gratuitous violence? If she keeps guarding herself like this then she’s just gonna end up alone. Looking away, she tells him that he doesn’t wanna know why.

(Present, the desert)

It broke her heart not being able to tell Milo the truth; that she was the one who didn’t want him to know. Yet, here she is now, all these years later and still keeping people at arms length. Is she that predictable?

(The Yukon, Alaska)
Meanwhile, deep inside the Yukon, in a bunker that was once part of the secret Weapon X program, Skullbuster watches Milo Thurman on a monitor. Milo appears to be in pain as he monitors his captive’s data. Psionic absorption units are on-line, electrolyte fluids flowing steady; he tells his boss that everything seems to be in working order, but asks what happens if the meat can’t hack the process? His boss tells him that if he wanted his opinion, he would give it to him. For now, he should just concentrate on the task at hand. If Thurman dies, so does Skullbuster. With the slightest of resigned glances, he acknowledges his boss and engages the primary psi-transfer. Skullbuster, like Lady Deathstrike, used to be a human being, until he himself underwent the cybernetic procedure that turned him into a living engine of destruction.

Milo’s body spasms and he screams in agony as wave upon wave of electro-chemical energy courses through his broken body. This brings with it the first of many levels of pain he will experience over the next few hours. Skullbuster is happy; Milo has survived the initial cybernetic connection and his boss orders him to begin the second phase immediately. As Milo peers through the window at his torturers, a single thought gives him a reason to hold on for dear life. “Beeaatriice…” he mutters. Skullbuster wonders why he’s thinking of a chick with a dorky name when he’s facing becoming a full-on cyborg but his boss replies that he shouldn’t be so surprised. The first word out of Skull’s own miserable mouth as he ‘resurrected’ his cybernetic mainframe was ‘mother.’

Besides, he continues, poor Mr. Thurman has been a prisoner of his own government for so long, it’s only logical that he clings to some pleasant memory. Fortunately for him, his indentured servitude to the government ends this day and, once the Psionic transfer is complete, so does his life.

(The desert)

Back in the United States, Domino plants a bomb amongst some vast pieces of machinery and set the timer for four minutes. She wonders why she didn’t think of this years ago. She could have busted Milo out and run away with him forever, but instead she put ‘the mission’ ahead of her own feelings. Man, she thinks, I was naïve. As she flicks the timer on, a metallic tentacle arcs around her left leg and the gruesome cybernetic form of Lady Deathstrike appears to continue the fight. The lower part of her left leg is missing and much of the flesh she had is now gone. She tells Dom that a score of thermite detonators could not destroy her, let alone a single grenade. She is a creation of the best in both the science of man and the sorcery of magic, and she shall be her death!

“Gee, and I though we were going to be friends!” replies Domino, as she reaches into her pack to fetch a metal spike a couple of feet long which she thrusts into Deathstrike’s arm with a ‘shunk.’ Time is running out and she hopes her luck doesn’t. Deathstrike has only scorn for her efforts, taunting her, saying that she expected more of a challenge from a seasoned warrior like her, but she realizes that Domino is unworthy of the honor that death by her hand bestows upon her soul. Domino continues to talk her way through the pressure of the situation, asking why they can’t just spare her the dishonor of soiling her precious rep with the bad-guy community by taking off and never crossing paths again. She twists and bends the steel spike causing Deathstrike to scream in agony. “I think you can see the point in that, can’t you? Otherwise, you had better tell me where Milo is, or it’s 120 seconds until combustion city.”

Deathstrike believes she’s bluffing, lacking the spine to carry out her threats, but Domino asks her if she wants to test her luck. Suddenly, Deathstrike reaches over and grabs the spike with her free hand and tears it from her arm, smacking Domino with it. With just one minute left until detonation, Deathstrike gains the advantage, pinning Domino against a large container and wrapping her cybernetic tentacles around her body. Her grip continues to tighten around Domino’s throat and Deathstrike tells her that in a matter of moments, she and her beloved will be reunited…in death!

She punches Domino in the face just to punish her and repeats the action, asking where Domino’s clever witticisms are now. “Where is the playful banter, laughing defiantly in the face of grim adversity but, most importantly, where is your vaunted luck? Domino falls to the floor, free of Deathstrike’s grasp and wonders where Milo is. She’s gotta stay conscious and free him. Deathstrike brings her face near to Domino’s and tells her that the it appears that the only thing falling for her at this moment are her chances of survival. The timer on the bomb ticks down from ten seconds, to three, to nought. A massive explosion rips through the entire complex, lighting up the night sky.


According to the video logs recorded by the facility’s internal cameras, captured images which were beamed, via satellite, to National Security Council databases in Washington, two unidentified female intruders were responsible for the destruction of over a dozen government agents and at least a billion dollars worth of equipment. But, ten hours later, when the excavation crew finally arrives to search for these women’s corpses amidst the rubble and wreckage of a government project gone horribly wrong, the will find none.

(The Yukon, the next day)

Domino awakes with a stinking headache, asking someone to please tell her she’s dead, and that this is not the weapon X bunker. Milo’s face appears on a monitor behind her. A man in a flowing cape and creative headgear leans towards her and informs her that it is, and she is not, “And even though my underlings, Pico and Deathstrike failed to dispatch you to your eternal repose as I had hoped; rest assured that Donald Pierce will be happy to see to that task personally!”

Characters Involved: 


Lady Deathstrike

Skullbuster I

Donald Pierce

(on monitor)

Milo Thurman



Facility scientists

Milo Thurman

Story Notes: 

The phrase ‘Ghost in the Shell’ comes from the Manga story by Masamune Shirow.

Milo appears to be the one who gave her the name Domino in the first place. Despite her mocking its use, it must have struck a chord with her, possibly using it in future for sentimental reasons.

Skullbuster is the original version and was a member of Donald Pierce’s Reavers. There was a second Skullbuster, Cylla Markham, who was killed by Bloodscream, and a third, female version, who first appeared in X-treme X-Men Annual 2001.

Donald Pierce was ‘killed’ in Uncanny X-Men #281 but is revealed to be very much alive here. His resurrection is explained next issue.

Issue Information: 
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