Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #15

Issue Date: 
November 2011
Story Title: 
Tabula Rasa

Rick Remender (writer), Jerome Opena (artist), Dean White (colors), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Sebastian Girner (assistant editor), Jody Leheup (editor), Nick Lowe ( group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

After destroying the small town of Beaver Lake, Archangel and the Dark Beast plant the Life Seed and, thanks to the time manipulation engines of the World, several million years of evolution occur in this area in one day, a test phase for what they plan to do to the entire planet. EVA senses the World’s engines and brings X-Force there. While a furious Fantomex engages Archangel in a fight that ends in a standstill, Deadpool and Deathlok face Famine and Death and kill the latter. Deathlok’s psychopath persona tortures Famine, allowing them to learn about Akkaba. Archangel and Dark Beast visit the Dreaming Celestial to get a Death Seed and Archangel decides on his next heir and guardian, now that Death is dead. Psylocke tries to flee from Akkaba, but is caught by the Age of Apocalpyse’s Blob.

Full Summary: 

Akkaba Metropolis, deep under the North Pole.

Psylocke has been confined to quarters. Her jailer, Pestilence, a woman dressed like a geisha, assures her he – referring to Archangel – has a beautiful dream. He will bring about a healthy world where they will be queens and kings. Betsy informs her she sounds super-crazy.

Undeterred, Pestilence continues he loves Psylocke. He only wants her prosperity. If that’s the case, Betsy asks, why does she feel like something terrible is happening?

At the site of what used to be the small town of Beaver Lake before Genocide obliterated it, stand Archangel, Genocide, the Dark Beast and the rest of the Final Horsemen. This is perfect! McCoy enthuses. All preparations meet with his exact specifications. Tabula Rasa, as promised, Archangel agrees. To write upon with their own evolution, McCoy adds and plants the Life Seed in the ground.

He’s assuring Genocide he is making them all very proud. Is he ready for the next step? He orders Death to enlarge the World.

In Akkaba, Pestilence assures Betsy how fortunate she is to have drawn his eye. He is the hand of the universe. Sounds like the sort of cultish nonsense a brainwash victim spews out to rationalize evil, Betsy remarks. Pestilence continues undeterred that he is the architect of their future.

In Tabula Rasa, the artificial environment of the World is enlarged. As they begin to enter, Archangel asks if this experiment won’t spend the Life Seed. It would take seeding an entire planet to drain it completely, McCoy assures him. They will just use a dash of its energies and the World’s time manipulation engines are good for several uses.

Inside is frozen chaos. McCoy tells Archangel to relax. This is going to work. And they are sure these time engines are powerful enough to affect the world outside? Archangel asks. His calculations are flawless, Dark Beast assures him. All time is happening at once. They will simply open the World and fast forward to view a new frame within a radius of their choosing.

They fly towards a statue in whose eye is a locked door. That’s when things get interesting, and it all awaits them behind that door.

In a hidden part of the World, Fantomex’ ally, Ultimaton, watches the intruders but doesn’t leave the laboratory, he is intent on protecting the experiment.

Genocide asks if they will age and die too. McCoy explains they are entering a chamber protected by a membrane of true time and these birds consume any artificial time that seeps in. Time here will remain consistent with their place in the universe. Only a day will pass for them. He orders Genocide to plug into the moment-engine and he will open the World.

In Akkaba, Pestilence explains that obedience isn’t a negative attribute. No relationship can work without one dominant and one submissive. There is comfort in serving. There is strength in knowing one’s place.

From her used plate, Betsy grabs the knife and attacks the other woman, thanking her for suppressing the stereotype. She kicks her in the face. And her contribution to feminism in general. A stream of insects is loosed from Pestilence’s mouth. She orders them to feast on Psylocke, but leave her alive! Betsy grabs her parasol and stuffs it into Pestilence’s mouth.

She uses the chance to run outside and straight into the AoA Blob. If it ain’t sister fancy-ass done and threw him three miles from the sky! he leers. Felt just like this! He hits her hard.

In the World, Dark Beast and Archangel excitedly watch as it begins. Archangel orders McCoy to walk him through the process.

30 million years of evolution will pass in the confines of Tabula Rasa while only 24 hours pass within the World. The Life Seed charging the soil provides battery power necessary to spark life which grows before their eyes. 15 million years later, mammals are the first to rise dominant. The large flourishing amphibians are their food source.

15 million years after that the amphibians have developed stone tools. Their frontal lobes grow. Culture changes at a greater speed. They have begun burying their dead and developing sophisticated hunting techniques.

But that is not all that has grown. Tabula Rasa is a sphere, ten miles in diameter. That includes all underneath the ground. As the sun sets the underground civilization rises. These night people conquer and transform everything to their suiting in five million short years.

Another fifteen million years pass. Sentient tapeworms rise from the deep water and soon dominate all. The return of the sun drives these night creatures back underground. The amphibians take the world. They see the sun rise for the first time ever and will forever worship the sun as the salvation of their people. Because every night from here on out things get bad.

Is this what they can expect when they reseed all of Earth? Archangel asks. It will be different. Each evolutionary line is a precious snowflake. Archangel admits it’s beautiful. McCoy suggests they go see it for themselves.

In the meantime, EVA has detected the World engines and announces they will be on site in a minute. He’s sure there won’t be anything bad there, Deadpool agrees. Deathlok asks Fantomex if the bullet he is loading into his gun is sentient. One of a set made from the conscious skin of a malevolent mutant, is the reply. Bring enough to share? Deadpool asks munching. It’s his last one, comes the reply, and is Wade eating his cheesy cham-chams? He is. Wade also informs them unnecessarily that when he gets real anxious, l’il Wade pulls up to hide inside big Wade. That’s happening now.

Well, Fantomex admits, if ever there was a time to set aside his feelings about Wade and fire with a motivational speech, now would be it. Go on, he is told. No, he just thought he should do it. He’s not capable of telling him he is a tremendous fighter and that they’ll prevent whatever mischief Mr. Worthington has decided. Too bad, Wade remarks. Would have been a real sweet moment between them. Yes, anyway here they are. Bigger question being, Wade remarks, what is here?

EVA explains what should be here. Beaver Lake, Montana, population 3069. Yet she’s detecting this jungle is over one hundred and twenty millions years old. She lands and Deadpool, Fantomex and Deathlok get out. Danzig’s old time croon “not of this world” playing on a loop, Fantomex announces while Deathlok remarks this ecosystem developed completely independent from their own. All life tied to a living current in the ground. Hey look, that monkey’s got a green butthole! Deadpool shares his observation.

Deathlok assumes no creature born here would survive outside the alien jungle. What happened to the people in the town? Fantomex wonders. Probably eaten by the giant mosquitoes, Deadpool suggests while Deathlok decides they are dead. Nothing of the previous inhabitants remains here. Fantomex summarizes that Warren used the World and the Life Seed to do this, to kill thousands of people, with tools Fantomex let slip from his grasp. Deadpool reasonably points out they all know Archangel lost his mind. It ain’t on Fantomex to kill him.

Archangel lands in front of Deadpool. They shouldn’t have come here. Fantomex goes for his throat and throws them both off the ledge. If there was any hope of saving him, of salvaging Warren Worthington, he spent it here, he shouts, calling him a bloodthirsty son of a bitch. They land in the dwelling of a few primitive natives.

Deadpool suggests they split those two up, when Death and Famine come flying in. Deathlok decides to give temporary control of his body to the original psychopathic personality who fires at the Horsemen’s flying carpet. Death boasts that they pose no threat to him. Calmly, Deathlok informs him he is wrong.

Further below, Archangel announces in a conversational tone that there will be no mercy offered. He attacks with his flechettes.

Deathlok’s psychopath personality disembowels Death and even his disease attack doesn’t phase Deathlok as his body is already dead. Welcome to the club, he tells Death and strikes.

Stepping on Fantomex’s arm, Archangel asks what gives him such an endless supply of confidence? A bullet that can’t miss its target, is the reply. Fantomex shoots up in the air. It seems it has, Archangel mocks, but the bullet return and grazes his head.

Fantomex is disappointed it didn’t kill him. He doesn’t think anything can kill him, Archangel remarks.

Genocide attacks Fantomex, telling Archangel not to waste his time with this rat. Rising up, Archangel tells Fantomex to burn with the old world. Fantomex flees from Genocide’s blasts.

He meets up with EVA. Deadpool is sitting outside, munching something local. Figured he’d drop the ball, Deadpool greets him. What did he accomplish today? Fantomex asks him sharply. They killed Death and caught Famine, is the reply. They? Fantomex asks. Deathlok did, Wade admits. Fantomex suggests they extract his master’s location. That’s what he said, Wade agrees. Deathlok just smiled. He guesses his psychopath host is back in control, He offered to pry Archangel’s location out of old Jeb. He ain’t for crap at guarding a base, but he’s willing to bet he is a pretty fine torturer.

Inside, Deathlok demands answers and Famine announces he ain’t willing to tell him. He doesn’t expect him to willingly betray his friends, is the reply. In fact, he prefers unwilling…

Outside San Francisco, under the Dreaming Celestial, Archangel meets McCoy. Sanjar is dead, Archangel informs him. So he must choose his heir before they move forward, McCoy announces. Every Apocalypse must have his Death…

Archangel flies the two of them upward towards the opening in the Celestial’s helmet. Will the Celestials understand what they mean to accomplish? he asks. Not entirely, McCoy assumes, though they will be pleased with the results. It’s why they were forced to acquire a Life Seed from another dimension, to avoid their detection.

Archangel announces the Dreaming Celestial summoned them and they enter. A voice speaks to Archangel who announces he serves evolution. The Death Seed will empower his guardian to watch over him. It will grow the next Apocalypse, once he has faded. It is his duty as all before him to safeguard the blossoming of progress by protecting it from weaker more populous species.

The Dreaming Celestial speaks and Archangel replies he has a plan to accomplish his charge and his success is assured.

In Tabula Rasa, Wade muses one of the fruits tastes like jock-itch. Fantomex tells him he needs the calories. Deathlok joins them. The prisoner cracked. They are in an Akkaba city under the North Pole.

Seeing the blood, Fantomex remarks disinterested that he has upset many of the basic tenets of the Geneva Conventions here. He can only hope his trial is fair, Deathlok replies. Even Deadpool admits to some disgust. Deathlok tells them to stop the cute routine. His AI seems intent on helping them, which means he doesn’t have a choice. As long as they keep him cutting and gutting, he is happy. Their cyborg has gone Ted Bundy on them, Fantomex sighs. This is getting better by the minute.

What’s the plan, boss? Wade asks. Denying he is the boss, Fantomex explains he believes Warren intends to do the same to the planet what he did to this place, and it is up to them to stop him.

In the Dreaming Celestial, Archangel gets the Death Seed. He must now choose his guardian and successor, he announces. On whom will he bestow it? McCoy asks. The choice is simple, is the reply. There is only one candidate.

And in Akkaba, Psylocke waits…

Characters Involved: 

Deadpool, Fantomex, Psylocke, Wolverine (all X-Force)

Deathlok (X-Force ally)



Death VII, Famine V, Pestilence VI, War VI (the Final Horsemen)

Dark Beast


Age of Apocalypse Blob

Dreaming Celestial

Story Notes: 

More information about Tabula Rasa is given in Uncanny X-Men (2nd series) #5-8.

Ted Bundy was an infamous serial killer.

Psylocke hurt the AoA Blob in issue #12.

Issue Information: 
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