Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #24

Issue Date: 
June 2012
Story Title: 
Frozen Moment

Rick Remender (writer), Phil Noto (penciler, inker), Dean White (colors), Leinil Phil Noto (cover), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Jared K. Fletcher (design), Sebastian Girner and Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

X-Force follows through on their promise to AoA Nightcrawler. The first target on their AoA baddie list is AoA Iceman, who turned traitor most recently. He’s discovered in Madripoor and after Deadpool’s “drag” attempt fails horribly Nightcrawler takes it upon himself and a plasma grenade to get the job done. Iceman proves to be a worthy opponent and is able to hold off Wolverine and Nightcrawler for a time. Eventually, Nightcrawler teleports him into a furnace room where there is hardly any moisture in the air. To make their final battle fair, Nightcrawler agrees to fight man to man, no powers. After much punching and kicking Kurt overcomes his former friend. To finish him off, Nightcrawler throws Bobby into the furnace and watches him melt. Back at Cavern X, Fantomex learns the price Psylocke paid to Krokwel in order to save his life. Instead of talking about it like Fantomex asks, Psylocke seduces him.

Full Summary: 


There’s a knock at the door to Robert Drake’s apartment and the skirt-wearing knocker is invited to come in. Once inside, Bobby can be seen partying it up with over a dozen scantily clad women, most of them hanging out with him in his king-sized bed. He takes one look at the figure that’s walking toward him and says it’s about time, that he ordered a ginger party girl over an hour ago.
The smile never leaves Drake’s face as he apologizes to the other women, begging their pardon for adding yet another girl to the mix. One girl giggles while another tenderly kisses him on the neck. He tells the redhead to hurry and get undressed, but he doesn’t look at her, therefore doesn’t notice as she reaches into her handbag and pulls out a gun.
The next thing AoA Iceman knows Deadpool, complete in drag, is straddling him with a gun in his face. “…me love you long time,” Deadpool jokes. The girls scatter, but Deadpool’s one-liner cost him the element of surprise. Iceman admits if Wade had pulled the trigger he’d be dead, but the gun is now iced and so is his fist. Bobby reaches back and punches Wade so hard with an iced fist he goes smashing through the window, many stories up from the ground.
Wolverine and AoA Nightcrawler are at the top of the roof and watch as Deadpool exits the apartment most painfully. Wolvie admits Wade’s way didn’t work so Nightcrawler says they try the plasma grenade’s way. He’s holding it gingerly in his hand. Logan reminds him he needs to be a few hundred feet away from pedestrians when he detonates. ‘Crawler tells him not to worry, then immediately teleports into Bobby’s room. He grabs onto Drake who manages to get out a “Kurt--?!” before being teleported away.

An outdoor funeral is being held for Jamie Braddock. Brian is leading the proceedings, reminding everyone why Jamie had to die, to prevent an atrocity he would one day commit in the future. He admits to those gathered that the irony is not lost on him. He then looks at his sister, Betsy, and adds, “Nor the means of his death.”
As Jamie’s coffin is lowered into the ground Brian tells him to rest, to stand proudly beside his mother and father, secure in knowing he died in the service of others. Fantomex, freshly bandaged all over his face, approaches him right after. “Brian? I’d like to--,” he starts, but Brian cuts him off. Gloat? he asks. He doesn’t stop there, assuming Fantomex wanted to throw it in his face what a hypocrite he is. “Fine. You were right,” Brian spits out through gritted teeth.
Brian shoves his finger in Fantomex’s face. He admits angrily that sometimes a child or family member needs to be killed to solve an ugly dilemma. He says preserving life is pointless, that only death gets the job done. “I see now. You win,” he yells.
His fit is over, but Brian still has a finger pointed at Fantomex’s face. Jean-Phillipe isn’t angry, instead he grasps that finger between his two hands and bends his head forward solemnly. He says he only came over to offer his condolences. He then leaves with Betsy, putting his hands on her shoulders.
Brian sees this and calls out to his sister. When she turns around he doesn’t continue. It might’ve been the sight of her with Fantomex or his thoughts turning to what she forced him to do, but whatever he was going to say doesn’t come out. Instead, he turns around with a “never mind” and stares at the coffin in the ground. Psylocke and Fantomex continue their walk from the grave site.

Nightcrawler and Iceman reappear way above the city. ‘Crawler activates the plasma grenade in his hand, but Bobby makes sure if he goes so does the elf, freezing their hands together. He tells Nightcrawler to disarm it, unless he plans on dying with him. He relents and disarms the grenade.
All the while, Nightcrawler keeps thinking about Drake and what they’ve been through together. It was Bobby who cared for him after Blob killed Linda, but his betrayal can’t be measured. He doesn’t think he’s killing Drake today because he was lost years ago and there’s nothing human left in him, just a frozen-hearted avatar who sold out his family.
As they continue to plummet a leaping Wolverine is heading straight for them, claws outstretched. He slices off Iceman’s arm near the wrist, freeing him from Nightcrawler. Iceman continues to fall, crashing through the skylight of another building, landing in the water fountain on the ground floor.
Nightcrawler teleports himself and Wolverine to the top of that building. Peering down through the smashed skylight Nightcrawler holds out the plasma grenade as if he’s going to drop it down. Wolverine reminds him of the civilians down there, but Nightcrawler says he’s going to teleport it into his stomach and bounce him around the city.
When he pushes the button to activate it Iceman smashes through the roof ot he building, now grown to gargantuan proportions. The grenade is knocked from Nightcrawler’s hand and begins its descent to the sidewalk below.
Using some sort of ice eye ray, Iceman freezes ‘Crawler before he can teleport away and disarm it. He coldly wonders how many people it will kill. It’s up to Wolverine to save them so he leaps over the side of the roof, following the path of the grenade. He catches it just before hitting the ground and it explodes underneath him a mere three feet from the sidewalk, smashing windows and tearing up the pavement underneath.

Fantomex and Psylocke are back at X-Force headquarters. Ever since Psylocke rescued Fantomex he’s noticed something was off about her. He finally asks her what’s wrong. He says she didn’t show any remorse at her brother’s funeral. He asks what she gave that fiend, Krokwel, in exchange for his help.
“Remove your hand,” Psylocke yells when he places it on her shoulder, trying to get her to stop and talk to him. She answers him anyway, explaining she gave up her sorrow and her capacity to ever feel again. Betsy thanks God she did because after everything she’s gone through recently she thinks killing Jamie would have pushed her over the edge. She then turns about and leaves a shocked Fantomex standing there staring after her.

Dozens of regular sized Icemen come crawling and stalking, surrounding Nightcrawler. Iceman-prime talks of the futileness of his endeavor saying he can’t be killed, and his ally, Wolverine, won’t be much help either. He asks Kurt why he can’t just leave well enough alone and enjoy this new world, start a new life, and forget about the revenge.
Nightcrawler teleports down to the lobby where Iceman-prime is lying about, chillin’. Kurt looks him square in the eyes and says he wants to make sure Drake can’t enjoy any of it. He then grabs his former teammate and teleports him to the roof of a nearby building with two large smokestacks on top. Then, just as quickly, Nightcrawler teleports them both inside. Iceman asks what this is and Kurt, smashing his face into a nearby wall, says this is where he dies.
Iceman is being slowly dragged toward the furnace. He congratulates Nightcrawler on his choice of location. There’s no moisture in the air, rendering Drake pretty much powerless. Before getting tossed in, Iceman says he’s going about this the wrong way. Tossing his sword aside, Kurt agrees, saying they fight as friends, no powers, no weapons, a fight to the death.
With that, Kurt punches a kneeing Iceman in the jaw. Iceman recovers quickly and slide kicks Nightcrawler’s legs out from under him. He follows that up with a kick to Kurt’s face. Now on the ground, Iceman pounces on top of him, punching him.
All the while, Kurt thinks back to a time when he was sitting in the mansion with Drake, getting drunk and watching the world fall apart. He remembers Bobby kept making jokes as if the end of the world wasn’t happening, as if they were two friends watching a movie on a Friday night. He wants his friend back, he wants to make him joke, he wants to make this all feel less awful.
Getting back to it, Kurt digs his thumbs into Iceman’s eyes and then uses the momentum to flip Bobby over and smash his icy face into the floor. Iceman counters by rocking his elbow back into ‘Crawler’s chin. Then he’s back on top of the elf punching and punching. He tells Kurt he lost, that it’s ok, to just let go.
This baiting only serves to anger Nightcrawler and he flip kicks Iceman off of him. Drake’s face bashes into the wall of the furnace. The heat on the metal’s surface melts the side of his face, causing him great agony. He cries out in pain.
Nightcrawler slowly stalks over, obviously tired, his right eye swollen from the fight. He says he couldn’t go on living knowing he was still alive. He fears that more than death, Kurt claims. He then opens the furnace allowing the heat to wash over his old friend.
Iceman begs him not to, but Kurt isn’t listening. He says he would have burned the entire world down just to kill him. Bobby pleads for another shot, that he’ll change. Kurt agrees, cradling Iceman in his arms. “You’ll melt,” he responds.
Iceman’s last words are for seeking understanding. He says he just wanted to enjoy his life. “I hope you did,” Nightcrawler answers and then tosses Iceman inside. His screams only last for a few seconds until death takes him. “Shiro sends his regards,” Nightcrawler adds while watching his friend melt away.
Elsewhere in the city, Deadpool is helping a severely burnt and skinless Wolverine into an alley. Deadpool tells Logan he’s lucky he found him, but admits he only stopped because he thought he was some sweet, street BBQ shack. He says he almost took a bite out of him before he realized it was his little “snuggle cousin.” A weakened Wolverine says he never agreed to be called that.
Nightcrawler teleports in front of them, the wounds of the battle still fresh on his face. Deadpool asks if it’s done, and Nightcrawler says yes, that he killed his friend. Then he teleports the three of them away.

Fantomex is in one of the nicer areas of their hideout, sitting in a curved chair having a video chat over the computer with Genesis. Genesis is saying how he’s having an ok time at school. He thinks Logan is a crank, but adds that Kitty is nice. He then asks after his parents.
“Uncle Cluster” says he’s been too busy going through a Led Zeppelin song’s worth of wizards and fairies to speak with his parents. When Genesis asks who Led Zeppelin is, Fantomex sighs and asks what they’re teaching him at his new school. He abruptly says he’ll tell his parents he’s doing well and then signs off.
It’s Psylocke that caught his eye and made him cut the conversation off so quickly. She’s on the lower level dressed in a purple bathrobe looking up at him. He descends the stairs and thanks her for coming. He wants to talk with her about what happened back in Otherworld.
However, Betsy doesn’t want to talk, or at least with words. She drops her bathrobe revealing her nakedness underneath. Fantomex is speechless. She then lifts his mask up and throws it off to the side. She pulls Jean-Phillipe’s face toward hers and kisses him passionately.

Characters Involved: 

AoA Nightcrawler, Deadpool, Fantomex, Psylocke, Wolverine (all Uncanny X-Force)
Captain Britain, Captain England, Saturnyne


AoA Iceman
via monitor

Genesis II

Story Notes: 

Jamie Braddock was killed at the end of the previous story arc. It was discovered he would eventually become the host for the demonic entity Horoam’ce. This would have resulted in the deaths of untold numbers across all reality. In order to prevent that from happening Psylocke, who was far away, telepathically forced Captain Britain to snap his own brother’s neck.
The reason Jamie’s death is such a bitter pill to swallow for Brian, other than his brother being dead, was just days earlier he sentenced Fantomex to eradication from existence because he killed a child who would one day become Apocalypse [Uncanny X-Force (1st series #20)]
Fantomex had his face skinned off by the Skinless Man at the end of Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #22.
The conversation that made Psylocke doubt her love for Warren occurred back in Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #12.
AoA Iceman decided to join with the Dark Beast after being “abandoned” by his teammates when they left for the 616 universe. It wasn’t just a matter of making new friends as Drake actually fought against his former friends. Shiro was killed in battle by Genocide after besting Iceman – Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #18
Sometime after the fall of Apocalypse Nightcrawler met and married a woman named Linda. The Blob, however, put an end to their wedded bliss by killing her. This was revealed in Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #25.
Long ago, Krokwel was banished to the Forest of Sorrows of Otherworld for practicing forbidden magic. The sentence was passed down by James Braddock, Psylocke’s father. With Fantomex nearing eradication she sought out Krokwel’s help, which he gave her, but not without her paying a steep, personal price. - Uncanny X-Force (1st series #21).
Genesis is a clone of the Apocalypse heir Fantomex killed. He raised Genesis in an artificial reality where he believes Fantomex to be his Uncle Cluster and that he has actual parents. After releasing him early from his environment to aid X-Force in battle it was decided he would be enrolled in the Jean Grey School and continue his training there.
Led Zeppelin is a hugely popular rock band who got their start in the late ‘60’s. A few of their songs make references to Tolkien’s Middle Earth such as “Misty Mountain Hop”, “Ramble On” and “Stairway to Heaven.”

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