Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #21

Issue Date: 
April 2012
Story Title: 
Otherworld Chapter Two

Rick Remender (writer), Greg Tocchini (penciler, inker), Dean White (colors), Leinil Francis Yu with Peter Steigerwald (cover), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Jared K. Fletcher (design), 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 (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Shortly after Fantomex is pumped full of poisons meant to eradicate him from existence he is rescued by Psylocke. Though he is mentally incapacitated, Psylocke attempts to get him to the Starlight Citadel to transport him back home. She is stopped short by Jamie and his reality-bending powers, but lashes out with a telepathic burst and flies through the glass ceiling with her dying teammate. She then heads to the Forest of Sorrows and strikes a deal with the powerful Krokwell to save Fantomex’s life. However, the price Psylocke has to pay is promised to be very steep. Elsewhere, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and the decapitated Deadpool manage to halt the Goat’s army and they continue their journey to the Starlight Citadel. They come across a group of armed citizens. After an awkward greeting from Meggan, they are taken in and brought up to date on the recent events with the Goat. Meanwhile, at the Starlight Citadel Jamie discovers the identity of the Goat. It’s a powerful entity named Horoam’ce that attaches itself to a human host and seeks to infect everything in its path. Elsewhere, at the Dragon Monolith, Horoam’ce is recovering from his battle with the X-Force trio. His meal is interrupted by a special guest, Skinless Man, who is tasked with taking Psylocke and Fantomex permanently off the battlefield.

Full Summary: 


The Omniversal Palace

Fantomex is inside the Corps’ very own existence-eradicating machine. He reaches his hands upward in the cylindrical tube, feeling for a way out. He finds it ironic he should be dying in this world that he hates, referring to the Corps as “Merlyn’s little band of omnidimensional fascists.”
A mechanism with half a dozen syringes attached to it, each filled with a golden substance, descends toward his head. Brain One surrenders immediately at the sight, accepting their fate. It argues to stop fighting and let it happen.
When the needles get closer to his head it begins to panic, realizing that if he dies the Braddock brothers win and they write his history, a vicious child-killer. He crouches as low as he can in the tube wondering what that says about him, his sole motivation to survive is to show up the fools who look down on him.
Then the needles sink into his skull. Brain One screams and then goes silent. Brain Two stays calm, tells him it’s not so bad, then dies. Brain Three, normally silent, speaks up and begins repeating the same thing over and over, “I miss my mother.”
Then there’s a loud SKRASH and the machine is ripped in half. It’s Psylocke in her Lady Britain outfit and she is shocked at what she sees. What have they done to you, she cries, staring at the needles plunged into his brain, the golden goo dripping from the various punctures points in his skull.
In response, Fantomex babbles on about his father killing his mother. He says it’s cold and he wants to go home. He cries out for his mother to help him. This prompts Betsy to go in psychically to get past all the babble. Fantomex explains he can’t hear his true mind and is scared. Betsy says she’s going to help him. He asks her why, but Psylocke tells him he already knows.
Psylocke takes Fantomex’s arm and drapes it over her shoulder and begins walking him out, the guards she defeated to get to the machine lie in piles around the room. Fantomex raises a gloved hand to his face and says he doesn’t deserve this rescue, that he abandoned Wade in the Akkaba cavern.
Just then, a small contingent of Corpsmen enters the chamber, led by Captain Britain himself. He compliments Phillipe on confessing his sins saying it’ll be good to die with a clean conscience. He explains the retroactive molecular deconstruction will erase backwards through his memories and then through time itself to expunge his existence.
“No,” Psylocke responds, “I will save him.” She then lets loose with a psychic attack that staggers the assembled men. She takes off running with Fantomex in tow, the latter reverting to babbling, saying something about his father making him kill so many. Psylocke tells him to stay in the moment, but he says he’s sliding backwards, disappearing. She tells him to hold it in his mind and make a stand or every moment of his life will be erased.

The remaining members of X-Force are in the midst of a battle between the Corps and a goat-headed monk and his demonic army. Since Wolverine only traveled to Otherworld to rescue his teammates he tells the goat creature, who is standing nearby on a floating platform, to get out of his way.
The goat-man responds oddly, saying, “Yes! This is right! You are where you should be!” Logan leaps toward him, telling him he should be in a shallow grave. In mid-strike Wolverine is whacked in the head by some sort of orb and becomes attached to it. The goat-man proudly proclaims the Orb of Metallum has snatched him like a trout.
As Wolverine hangs there by one side of his face the goat-man begins mocking him and says he’s like a god compared to Wolverine. He tells Logan he must fear him in the cockles of his fetid soul. “Give you a fetid cockle,” the eloquent Wolverine responds.
The goat-man explains that the Orb of Metallum was forged by Merlyn to deal with those who would coat themselves in metal and blade. Wolverine tells him to do his worst, which the goat-man eagerly does.
With one swipe of his arm the orb begins pulling on Wolverine’s adamantium like an extremely powerful magnet. At first it’s just his face and claws that are affected, but when he asks if this is the worst the goat-man can do he learns that it’s not.
Wolverine’s entire body is twisted and broken by the orb, joints are snapped in different directions and blood begins seeping from his wounds. He lets out a howl of agony as the goat-man recites all he can do, crushing his metal skull, compacting his brain, twisting his spine and compacting his joints. The goat-man proudly proclaims this is the worst he can do.
Nearby on the battlefield, Nightcrawler actually finds this a bit comforting as the Logan back on his world was responsible for millions of deaths including friends and family. However, he knows this is not the same man and rushes to his aid, provided he doesn’t get crushed by a giant stone hammer being swung his way.
‘Crawler teleports away and reappears above the fray. Thinking quickly, he bamfs next to the orb and then teleports it away, freeing Logan. Nightcrawler reappears right in the path of the large troll with the giant sledgehammer. The creature swings instinctively at the blue elf, but crushes the orb when he teleports away, destroying it.
The goat-man freaks out at the destruction of his precious weapon. When he spies Nightcrawler attending to Logan on the ground he questions who he is, as he should not be there. Nightcrawler tells him he makes a good point and then hops on top of a skeletal unicorn with Logan around his arms.
The goat-man is in utter disbelief. He states that the orb shouldn’t have been destroyed. Nightcrawler says he’ll take his word for it as he snatches up Deadpool’s body and drapes it along the steed’s backside. He then loops around, calling his unicorn Rainbow Kiss, to retrieve Wade’s head. With one quick jab of his sword Nightcrawler creates a Deadpool cranial shiskabob and teleports out of the battle arena.
The turn of events has upset the goat-man. Despite the new entrants retreat he tells his forces to retreat so he can reorganize the map. A surviving Corpsman teleports back to the palace to let them know the goat’s armies are heading east.
Omniversal Palace

Psylocke has Fantomex in the Citadel and are approaching doorway 616. She tells her friend to focus on whatever moment he’s living and not let it recede. Fantomex, with a glazed look in his eyes, tells his mother she looks old and asks how long he is.
Just before she can reach the doorway reality twists around her. It’s her brother, Jamie, who pleads with her to stop. He asks her what it is about this man that would make her betray her own family. He tells her if Fantomex is not dealt with now when she sees he’s a true villain it will be too late.
As Fantomex asks his mother who Sublime is, Betsy screams back to her brother that Fantomex is not a villain. She lets loose with a telepathic attack and then flies into the air telling Jamie there is goodness within the man and she will not allow him to be killed. They burst through the Citadel’s roof sending shards of glass flying everywhere. Psylocke says they’re going to Plan B and tells Jean Phillipe she’s not going to let him get hurt.
While inside the Citadel, some of the troops have gathered around Jamie, including his brother, Brian. Captain Britain helps his brother up and says their sister is blind and can’t see Fantomex for what he is. Jamie admits few can, but adds that it’s only a matter of time before he’s erased from existence. Still, Brian cautions, it’s dangerous out there.
Brian’s made up his mind and says he’s taking a brigade to apprehend them. Captain England says it will have to wait as there’s some bad news from the battlefront. The Corps member who survived the encounter with the goat-man reports they’ve been defeated and that everything beyond the Great Rift and the Wailing Mists has been taken by the Goat.
Panic sets in and Captain Britain asks about Meggan and the others. He wants to know if the village of the South Woode is ok. The Corpsman doesn’t know, only that the Goat’s armies moved east and his ranks were decimated. Brian realizes he’s headed right for them. “What have I done?” he questions quietly.
Saturnyne comes in and says he did what he was supposed to which is protect the realm. He argues he sent Meggan to her death and says they need to move out and protect the South Woode. She says they can’t leave as the Goat’s goal is the Starlight Citadel and the Omniversal Doorways. If they fail, she explains, the Goat will be able to expand his evil to every other dimension across all reality, infecting it with his madness.
With a grimace Brian says he’s going alone then. Saturnyne argues he’s needed at the Citadel as they don’t know how he will attack next. The surviving Corpsman says he saw the beast’s weapons, three orbs, one controlling the earth and metal, another, the laws of physics, and the third bringing life to the dead. Saturnyne questions the logic of these claims, but Jamie says there is only one answer, their enemy holds the orbs of Necromon.
near the South Woode

Wolverine is back to his old self and carrying Deadpool’s body over his shoulders. Nightcrawler has the lead on their little trek and is holding Wade’s head in his hand. This does not amuse Deadpool who asks Wolverine to reach into the third pouch along his belt and grab his 20-sided die and roll to see which one of them he kills first.
Kurt sarcastically asks Deadpool if he’s upset that he saved his miserable life. It’s actually that Nightcrawler used his sword to pick up his head off the ground like it was a piece of garbage, he complains. Nightcrawler is glad the symbolism wasn’t lost on him.
The complaining continues. Deadpool says he’s mad at Wolverine for making it sound like they were heading for the Shire, when it was actually more like Mordor. From Wade’s point of view it seemed as though the knights were outmatched by the goat-head and his menagerie of Frazetta van paintings. Wolverine says it isn’t their concern and they’re only there to find their people and get them home. He says he doesn’t want to get into any more trouble.
Except it seems trouble has found them. One second they’re seemingly alone and the next they’re surrounded by over a dozen people with weapons drawn and aimed at them. A balding man with an eye-patch over his right eye points an accusing hand at Nightcrawler and asks what he’s doing there.
Nightcrawler holds his hands up in defense and admits it’s a good question. Before he can stall any further the man moves in and kisses Kurt on the lips. Then, as the man pulls away, he reverts to his true form… that of Meggan. She is relieved to see Kurt, and he agrees he’s just as relieved he wasn’t just kissing a man, but tells her he’s not the Kurt she knew.
It doesn’t matter to Meggan. She’s just glad Brian finally broke down and asked for help from the X-Men. Wolverine butts into the conversation, explaining Brian didn’t ask them for anything, just took two of their people. Wolverine wants to know where they are. Meggan says there was talk of a trial of a man from their world. Whatever the reason, Logan responds, he’s taking Fantomex and Psylocke home. He says if Brian gets in his way then they’ll have a whole other war on their hands.
Forest of Sorrows

Psylocke flies over the Forest of Sorrows with Fantomex cradled in her arms. She comes across her intended destination, a temple belonging to a large creature called Krokwel. She approaches the entrance and asks the guards to allow her to see their master. At first the guards act belligerent, but she tells them the daughter of James Braddock seeks his counsel and he will want to hear her offer.
Psylocke is allowed entrance and carries Fantomex with her. Master Krokwell asks what brings her into his presence, calling her the daughter of Bright Lies. He says her family has ignored the forest and its keeper for far too long. She says she seeks his aid as he was once a servant of Otherworld. She claims Krokwell has the power to undo the poisons in her companion’s body.
Krokwell brings up the past transgressions of her father and Merlyn, who didn’t agree with the magics he ingested and tied him to the forest and its unquenchable appetite for sorrow. He finds it ironic this man’s daughter now turns to him for help in using the same forbidden magics to save her friend. He scoffs at her.
Looking pleadingly into his eyes, Psylocke says she insists on nothing, instead offering a trade. She says if he heals her companion she will have him released from the forest. He seems to mull her offer over, but upon closer inspection of Fantomex says there is nothing that can be done, that he will soon be expunged from existence. He then orders his knights to open Betsy’s mind to the forest so that it may drink in her deep suffering at Fantomex’s death.
As one of the knight’s reaches for her she rushes Krokwell, pleading with him. She asks if there isn’t some price, some favor that can be done to secure his aid. He half turns to face her as a smile creeps onto his face for the first time. He says there is one thing she can do, but the cost will be steeper than she could possibly expect.
Starlight Citadel, Merlyn’s chamber

Jamie, Captain Britain and Captain England have found the Orbs of Necromon to still be present, right where they should be. Jamie wonders if they have a different set. Captain Britain says they have no other dimensional counterpart, that there is no other set. Looking them over, Captain England says they’ve never left Merlyn’s chamber.
Nevertheless, the Goat has them, Jamie argues, which explains how the rotting troll corpses continue to attack them. Captain Britain calls them over to check out what he found in one of Merlyn’s books. It’s a goat-headed demon name Horoam’ce who bonds with a human host to gain a physical presence. The book says that once it accomplishes that, it seeks a populated area and it infects all in its path.
DOOM, everything around them shakes. A knight comes rushing into the room to tell them they’re under attack. Jamie asks how the enemy got so close without alarming the guard. That’s the problem, the knight explains, it’s their fallen guardsmen who are mounting the attack.
South Woode, Davis Creek

As the X-Force trio make their way into the village Wolverine complains about the awful smell. Meggan says Davis Creek is shored against the Goat’s dragon monolith. She says she leads a small brigade charged with protecting these people while keeping an eye on the Goat’s forces.
The general of the brigade, Widget, comes flying over. She tells Widget to call the mage to help their wounded friend. The irony of a floating head coming to his rescue is not lost on Deadpool. “Brothers in the battle for disembodied head rights, unite!” he proclaims, still resting in Kurt’s hands.
They continue walking through the streets, the bandaged and bloody very prevalent. When Nightcrawler comments on the suffering Meggan says the civilians are the hardest hit, and can be difficult to look at if one is unaccustomed. Nightcrawler assures her he is quite accustomed, but asks how she maintains her composure surrounded by all this horror. Meggan says she has the ability to see the bright side of everything.
When they step out onto the outskirts of the town they stare up at the enormous Goat stronghold. Meggan says they know little of the mystic demon-monk whose headquarters is within the dragon-shaped monolith, but his undead armies are between them and the Starlight Citadel. She says there is no retreat for them, only a battle to the death.
Dragon Monolith
Horoam’ce sits atop a throne with two nymphs at either side of him. An unidentified person enters his chambers and says they arrived where Horoam’ce said they would. The Goat says that Elizabeth Braddock and Weapon XIII are there as well, roaming the Forest of Sorrows. As he bites down on a hunk of meat he jokingly wonders aloud if he only knew someone who had suffered at their hands, someone who deeply hated them both.
“You big tease,” the Skinless Man remarks.

Characters Involved: 

AoA Nightcrawler, Deadpool, Fantomex, Psylocke, Wolverine (all Uncanny X-Force)

Jamie Braddock

Captain Airstrip One, Captain Britain, Captain England, many unnamed Corps members both alive and deceased (Captain Britain Corps)




Horoam’ce (goat-man)

Skinless Man

in painting

James Braddock, Merlyn, Roma

Story Notes: 

616 is the universal designator for the Marvel reality as we know it.
Fantomex mentioned Sublime in his ranting. He’s referring to John Sublime who was head of the Weapon Plus program when he was created.
The Shire and Mordor and two locations in Middle Earth, a fantasy world made famous by The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Shire is a place where a peaceful group of little folk called hobbits lived. Mordor, on the other hand, was a place of evil ruled by a powerful necromancer called Sauron, where orcs, goblins and trolls abounded.
If you Google “Frazetta van paintings” you will see that Deadpool’s comments were spot on in reference to the types of creatures they were facing.
Skinless Man’s hatred for Fantomex will be explained next issue.

Issue Information: 
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