Domino (1st series) #3

Issue Date: 
March 1997
Story Title: 
Hard Luck!

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

Brief Description: 

Domino finds her beloved Milo strapped to a machine with the cyborg, Donald Pierce, looking on, eagerly anticipating Milo’s conversion. Domino attacks him but suffers at the hands of her physically superior opponent. He electrocutes her and, as she tries to prevent herself from blacking out, he recalls how he came to be there. He was taken away by Trevor Fitzroy after his Sentinels attacked the Hellfire Club and reprogrammed with a new prime directive. He then asks Skullbuster and Lady Deathstrike to take her away and she is dragged by the arms as Milo looks on, helpless. He recalls how, a long time ago, he was saved by Domino, who he was led to believe died in the process. Now she’s back, it appears they’re both going to buy the farm. Domino’s luck kicks in before she is stripped of her flesh and she turns the tables on her two captors, kicking them into an acid bath. She takes hold of a really big gun and heads back to Pierce, whom she blasts. Unfortunately, he downloads his data before it is lost forever. Milo knows he isn’t going to survive and tells Domino he loves her as she leaves and she is furious with herself for being unable to reciprocate the sentiments. She sets a bomb’s timing device to explode the base after she’s gone. Later, she and Puck meet up in Rio and he tries to cheer her up but the loss of Milo has taken its toll on her.

Full Summary: 

In an installation of the Weapon X project in the Canadian Yukon, Milo Thurman’s life hangs in the balance. Domino asks her host, Donald Pierce, what on Earth he’s doing to Milo. He replies that he is simply elevating her precious Dr. Thurman to a higher state of being and, once he’s finished with him, she will be next. Milo is strapped to the cybernetic conversion machine and, in a desperate attempt to free him, Domino attacks Pierce, telling him the only thing getting elevated today is the number of bad guys on her butts-whipped belt. Domino thought that Pierce was dead and, when he fires a blast of energy from his eyes at her, knocking her helpless to the ground, she wishes he still was. He stands over her, telling her a new day dawns for her beloved and there isn’t a blessed thing she can do about it.

He snarls at Domino, taunting her about Milo’s impending conversion and telling her that he will be better off this way. He will be stripped of his weak, corporeal existence; his brain given longevity beyond its fleshy restraints. “And then what?” she asks, “Does he become yet another ‘techno-slinky’ like the rest of you cyberdweebs?” Pierce’s eyes light up once again, as he grabs her by the neck. He lifts Domino up by coiling his cyborg arms around her body and tells her that Milo will soon see the outcome of his soon-to-be-historical predictions. Once Pierce has rewired his mind, he shall reap the benefits of those predictions. Domino struggles to breathe, gasping for air as her much more powerful opponent toys with her, wondering where her luck has gone when she needs it.

Pierce tells her that she is probably surprised by his resurrection, but she replies, “To be honest Donnie-boy, I couldn’t give a flying…” She screams in pain as he sends an electrical charge down his arm and through her body. A tear springs from her eye, as she wills herself to not black out; not when Milo needs her. She bows her head as Pierce puts his face up to hers. “Ahh, I love a captive audience…” He trusts that her x-compatriots have regaled her with tales of the bloodbath that occurred when his previous team of Reavers was compromised. Suffice it to say, that the accounts of his death were greatly exaggerated.


Donald Pierce succumbs to the Sentinels in the Hellfire Club during one of the clubs darker days. He is taken hostage by the upstart Trevor Fitzroy and his Sentinels spirit him away. All his available data is uploaded for reasons he can only guess at, leaving little more than a lifeless shell, a pale shadow of the cyborg he once was. However, while his mind lays dormant, a clandestine exchange takes place. His new benefactor restores his original memory and programming while adding a new prime directive, one more compatible with the recent shift of paranormal power on Earth. He also partially recreates his cyborg body.


Pierce tells Domino that, with Dr. Thurman in his thrall, that directive shall finally be executed. He turns away from the weakened Domino and instructs Lady Deathstrike and Skullbuster to execute her, and they are happy to oblige. Behind Domino, Milo comes round and asks the woman before him if it’s really her. The Feds swore she died many years ago. She doesn’t even turn around, but asks him to shush and close his eyes; this is all a bad dream. Milo is excited by her presence and tells her that they can be together again, demanding that Pierce gets him out of there, but Pierce responds by telling him the only thing he’s in a position to do now is die. He flicks the switch, sending electricity coursing through Milo’s body once again, causing Milo to scream in agony. Domino tells him to hang tough; she’ll get him out of here somehow, even if she dies trying, but she keeps that last part to herself.

The two cyborg subordinates grab Domino by the arms and lead her away. Pierce says their guest could do with freshening up and Deathstrike says a ‘bath’ will do her a world of good. “If she’s got the spine to survive that is,” adds Skullbuster. Pierce turns his attentions to Milo, extending his neck a couple of feet so he can speak to Milo (still strapped to a machine) face to face. Milo demands he let her go as he’s the one Pierce truly wants. Pierce acknowledges this, but asks why he should settle for adding one new member to the Reavers, when he can add two. Milo needn’t worry, though, as if she’s half the girl Milo gives her credit for she’ll find the cybernetic transfer process most liberating. Again, he flicks the switch and Milo’s torture continues.

As he reels from the pain, he thinks that once more he is going to lose her. With this idea in his mind and wave upon wave of electrical energy torturing his body, his slowly fracturing mind retreats to a time and a place it has subconsciously avoided for years.


A.I.M troopers storm a top-secret facility, acting on information someone high up in the bureaucratic chain has leaked to them. The night-time raid sees several government guards die protecting Milo, who quietly reads his book, oblivious to the action outside. A.I.M wants this ‘artificial intelligence’ but little do they realize that the alleged intelligence isn’t artificial at all. Milo’s door explodes as they break into his cell. He wishes he could have seen the looks on their faces when they realized they’d been set up. As they round on him, Domino appears through a hole in the wall, and tells them to step away from the Rasta and to get into single file. “Let a real woman take first shot at him! After all, he is my husband.”

He always knew his little Domino was tough, but he never knew how sexy she could be when she was throwing down. Domino leaps above the troopers and avoids their gunfire with effortless ease, shouting at Milo to get his butt out of there. He tells her he loves her and, even though his instincts tell him to run, he doesn’t. He stands there and watches Domino holding off the troopers for as long as he can and, in a final moment of clarity, he realizes that he is looking at a moment in time that holds historical significance for the future, maybe not the future at large, but to her future, his future and their future together. A large explosion knocks Milo to his feet but as he picks himself up, he thinks Domino has died saving him. The Feds tell him she is gone, that she has died honorably in the service of her country; that she’s sacrificed herself for him.


He now knows that was just a lie. It’s just too bad for him that it’s too late to do anything about it. Pierce has them both dead to rights; there’s no way out of there, unless…

Pierce has delusions of grandeur, using Milo’s abilities to help shape the events of America’s future, and then the world’s. Over in level 6 (Disinfection), Skullbuster walks with Deathstrike, carrying Domino on his powerful shoulders. He seems to think that the process shouldn’t take long as Domino looks wimpy enough, but Deathstrike has learnt never to underestimate an opponent or the strength of their will. She informs Skullbuster that her resolve rivals her own and, yet, while she remains able to repair her internal and external systems, Domino does not. She welcomes the challenge of bending her will and shall savor watching it break.

They stop next to a metallic body armor hanging from the ceiling from chains and Skullbuster tells her that the exoskeleton’s ready. “Dress her,” she commands. A harness is placed around Domino’s waist and a T-bar hooks onto it, with which Skullbuster uses to haul Domino up to the suit, which hangs ominously over a large vat of steaming green electrolyte bonding solution. They evacuate the area, leaving Domino to her fate, locking the chamber behind them. Lady Deathstrike grins as she watches proceedings from a control booth, high above the chamber, taunting the barely conscious Domino that this is payback for the damage she inflicted upon her during their previous encounter. She will enjoy watching her suffer.

Domino groans as she awakens to the taunts. The last thing she remembers is Milo being tortured but this quickly fades from her mind as the realization dawns that she is in it deep. She looks down at the liquid and is petrified at the thought of being flayed alive, asking herself, what’s the worst that could happen. Suddenly, her question is answered as the harness around her snaps and she begins to fall. “I’m dead, I’m dead, I’m…” she thinks as she drops but, suddenly, her top manages to catch on at the last moment to the broken harness, leaving Domino hanging, knees bent over the corrosive bath.

Deathstrike turns to Skullbuster and calls him an imbecile for not fastening the harness correctly but he replies by saying that she is the one operating the controls. She dashes down the corridor to stop Domino before she escapes, closely followed by her fellow Reaver, but, as they emerge through the chamber’s doorway, Domino is nowhere to be seen. She thinks that Pierce will have their heads if he discovers that she hasn’t been turned but, suddenly, Domino leaps at them from behind holding onto a rope and tells them that’s the least of their worries. She kicks them both in the back and they fall towards the acid. “Don’t forget to wash behind your ears,” Domino says, “Assuming you still have any.” The two cyborgs disappear into the acid as Domino looks down, thinking that just because things fall into place for her, they didn’t have to take it so literally.

She looks up at the body suit and knows that the only person standing in the way of her and Milo’s future is Donald Pierce. She lowers the suit and rips off a really big gun, which was attached for her future use, and thinks that, if this bad boy’s as powerful as she suspects, then by the time Pierce’s goons swim their way out of the acid bath they’re going to be in the market for a new employer.

Elsewhere in the complex, Milo recites Dante’s Inferno, as more waves of electricity course through his body. Pierce wonders what this repetitive recitation could possibly mean, but the words coming out of Milo’s mouth seem to imply he is praying for Domino to save him. Pierce, though, is pleased, as nearly sixty percent of Milo’s memories and consciousness have been downloaded into his neural net. He is impressed though at his resilience; his mind being even more formidable than he had hoped.

Suddenly, the wall explodes in a plume of smoke and breaking masonry. Domino steps through the gaping hole carrying the weapon and Pierce is shocked to see her. “You! But what about the bonding process?” She tells him that it’s the darndest thing, but that cybersuit just wasn’t her size. She gets him up to speed, telling him that she left Moe and Larry drowning in the toxic kiddie pool of his and, from where she’s standing, “It’s curtain time for you and your stooges, Curly.” While she can’t say that this little game of his has been fun, she can tell him that no matter how many times he sets her or the people she cares for up and knocks them down, there’s always gonna be one Domino left standing. She raises the weapon and blasts Pierce in the chest, point-blank, and he screams in agony before falling to the ground in a pool of blood and other assorted fluids.

Milo, in his weary state, asks if it’s her and she replies that it is, but he shouldn’t talk, just rest, assuring him that everything’s gonna be fine. Pierce is history and she’s getting him out of there. However, he looks down at her and tells her it’s too late for him; Pierce saw to that personally. He informs her though that she can still stop him if she destroys the mainframe. A tear rolls down her cheek as she replies that if she does that, she’ll lose him forever. There’s got to be something she can do, something her powers will allow her to do, even her luck. Milo closes his eyes, and says that his luck ran out the first time he lost her.

As the two lovers face the awful truth about their future prospects, Pierce extends a cable from the top of his skull and connects with a circuit in the wall nearby. His eyes light up as he downloads his mind and he grins as he thinks that he’s won. Milo, meanwhile, reminds Domino that, whatever she does, she shouldn’t forget him. She kisses him, telling him that she could sooner forget her name. Milo tells her he loves her. Domino looks away and tries to hold back the tears and replies that she knows, but she somehow cannot bring herself to truly open up to him and she chastises herself for being unable to drop the bad girl and tough as nails attitude. For once in her lonely life, she should open up and tell Milo how she feels. If she can’t do this for him, then how is she ever going to tell Cable?

Tears once again begin to stream down her pallid cheeks, as she fiddles with a timer switch, which she connects to some circuitry in a wall panel. Whether she cares to admit it or not, there have only been two men that Domino has ever wanted to hear say those words; one of them because she believes deep in her heart that, when the time is right, they will have a wonderful life together, but only when the time is absolutely right. The one minute countdown ticks away as she rushes towards an outside wall and blasts her way through it. Even though she and Cable have both been through hell and high water, Domino knows they have a long way to go before either of them is ready to make the commitment to something as great as the cause they fight for; each other.

She leaps through the hole in the wall to freedom a split second before a huge explosion rips through the complex. The Weapon X facility’s internal defense system engages the self-destruct sequence she programmed and Domino bids farewell to the first man whose feelings ever truly mattered to her. She has come to the realization that the reason she simultaneously fears the wonderful life she so eagerly anticipates is because it is something she must be willing to give herself to, completely, unconditionally. Even before that, though, it has to be something she is willing to live for and, when necessary, to die for.

(Rio de Janeiro, the following night)

A full moon basks the bay in a warm glow, as Domino sits in a bar, reading from Dante’s Inferno. “My guide and I crossed over and began to mount that little known and lightless world to ascend into the shining world again. He first, I second without thought of rest, we climbed the dark until we reached the point where a round opening brought in sight the blest and beauteous shining of heavenly cars, and we walked out once more beneath the stars.” She closes the book. Milo told her once that all he ever really wanted, that the only thing the government ever really took away from him, was the freedom to gaze up at the stars at carnaval and the dream of a better tomorrow. Funny, she thinks, but they just don’t seem as bright as they used to.

Suddenly, a midget in a jesters costume leaps in front of her and says, in Portuguese, “ahoy mistress! Why the long face? It is time for fiesta!” She screams Pico’s name and pulls a dagger from nowhere, tossing her reading table aside as she rushes him, angry as hell. The man puts his hands up and realizes his error, pulling the mask back to reveal the face of her old friend, Puck. She smiles and says that he just wanted to see if the info he passed on to her came in handy and if any of her luck managed to rub off on old Doc Thurman. She looks into the distance as once again, tears begin to form. She tells Puck that she failed; she failed Milo and she failed herself. He replies that she couldn’t fail if she tried and takes her hand. They walk in to the distance as Puck tells her that he knows it hurts now and all her luck isn’t nothing but hard but, if he knows her, things will fall back into place for her, someday. “I guess you’re right Puck. I just wish I knew when…”

Characters Involved: 


Donald Pierce

Milo Thurman


Lady Deathstrike

Rio Carnaval revellers

Hotel waiter



Donald Pierce

Sentinels (working for Trevor Fitzroy)

Trevor Fitzroy


A.I.M troopers

Milo Thurman and his guards


Story Notes: 

Donald Pierce and the Reavers were attacked by Fitzroy’s Sentinels in the now classic bloodbath, Uncanny X-Men #281.

The shift of paranormal power that Pierce mentions refers to Onslaught.

A.I.M stands for Advanced Idea Mechanics.

Moe, Larry and Curly were the Three Stooges, a comedy act appearing in numerous films from the 1930’s to the 1950’s.

Issue Information: 
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