Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #4

Issue Date: 
March 2011
Story Title: 
The Apocalypse Solution, chapter four

Rick Remender (writer), Jerome Opena (artist), Dean White (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (Letterer), Esad Ribic (cover artist), Jared K Fletcher (design), Jody Leheup (assistant editor), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Wolverine and Fantomex emerge from the rubble, and quickly prevent Ship from teleporting away by Fantomex using his misdirection power on it. Outside on the moon, Deadpool manages to get Archangel to eat by feeding him slices of his flesh. Ozymandias learns the mutants are inside the ship, and they quickly take down some warriors, before the Final Horsemen apparently take Wolverine and Fantomex down - when in truth, Fantomex used his power of misdirection to make Ozymandias think that was happening, where in truth, EVA had transported them to a distant planet. Archangel and Deadpool reunite with Wolverine and Fantomex after taking out Ozymandias, before locating Psylocke and the boy Apocalypse - who Psylocke is now protecting. Archangel is determined that the boy must die, so he battles Psylocke. Wolverine soon announces that they should not kill the boy. Archangel still fights them, before breaking down when it comes to his opportunity to kill the boy. However Fantomex suddenly shoots him point blank. As the ship prepares to teleport, X-Force make their escape, and travel back to Earth in silence.

Full Summary: 

The surface of the moon. ‘Ghaa -!’ Wolverine a.k.a. Logan exclaims as he breaks through some rubble, gasping for breath. ‘C’mon! Where the hell are you at!’ Logan calls out as he begins tossing the rubble aside, searching for his X-Force teammate Fantomex a.k.a. “Jean-Phillipe”. Suddenly, one of Fantomex’s hand reaches up through the rubble, and Wolverine pulls him free. ‘Snap to, Spooky! Listen up!’ Logan calls out. ‘Hmmm…I’m up, I’m up’ Fantomex replies, before asking where they are. Logan tells him that Ship is about to teleport and Betsy is trapped inside. Logan asks Fantomex to misdirect Ship and make it think it has already teleported. ‘You follow me, you faux French son of a bitch? Do it now!’ Logan booms.

‘The condescension is unnecessary’ Fantomex replies as he raises his hand. ‘Can’t hurt’ Logan tells him, and as the massive citadel still remains before them, Fantomex exclaims that it seems to have worked. ‘This vessel as a living brain. How did you know?’ Fantomex asks. Logan replies that he gambled on the fact that this ship must be some kind of clone of another one he has had dealings with. ‘Disappointing. I thought me sentient vessel was unique’ Fantomex remarks, referring to EVA. ‘Nothing about you is all that unique’ Logan remarks. ‘Always the nurturing motivator’ Fantomex exclaims. ‘You’re a fine dancer, your ass doesn’t look fat in those pants and people really like you’ Wolverine mocks. ‘You didn’t mention how smart I am’ Fantomex points out as they approach the entrance to the ship. ‘Nope’ Wolverine mutters.

Elsewhere on the moon, ‘C’mon, eat’ Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool tells the badly injured Archangel a.k.a. Warren Worthington III, from within the Deadpool-tent that Wade put up for the two of them to recover in. Deadpool holds some food to Warren’s lips. ‘Don’t make me chew it for you, baby bird. Please, God, don’t make me do that’ Wade exclaims as he pushes the food into Warren’s mouth. ‘That’s right. There you go. Nom-nom. Mama’s got her boy’s supper. Make him big and strong’ Deadpool prattles on. Wearily, Warren asks Wade where he got this from. ‘If I tell you, do you promise to keep eating?’ Wade asks as he slices another piece of his arm off with a knife.

Inside, the ship, Ozymandias looks at the old woman - the ship - and asks ‘What the hell is wrong with you? Jump! Now!’ he exclaims. ‘Matter transfer to the next stronghold!’ ‘Order completed. We are arrived at Neptune station’ the old woman replies. ‘No! We -’ Ozymandias begins to reply, before ship announces that there is a more urgent matter. ‘We have an intruder in -’ she begins, to which Ozymandias declares that he knows they have intruder, before ordering one of the servants to disconnect Ship’s intelligence. ‘But Lord, I nnnnee-’ the old woman begins, before she fades away.

Ozymandias asks the bird-headed servant how long a manual override of the matter drive will take. The servant replies that it will take four minutes, so Ozymandias orders her to get to it. Ozymandias contacts some warriors stationed elsewhere in Ship and informs them that the idiot Ship is malfunctioned, and they are immobilized. ‘Expect Xavier’s whores to be upon you soon’ he warns the warriors. The warrior replies that they are in the central corridor and can relocate to any area of the ship with haste. The warrior informs Ozymandias that no one has attempted to enter as of yet, and that if they do, they are more than ready for them.

‘I enjoy hyperbole as much as the next guy - but ain’t no one buying that song, chump!’ Logan exclaims as he drops down from above, claws outstretched. ‘Hmm, I was almost convinced’ Fantomex remarks as he drops down after Logan, firing his weapon at the warriors. ‘Which is why I left “brains” off your “pros” list’ Wolverine jokes as he skewers one of the Clan Akkaba. Logan growls as he slices one of the ropes holding the platform in mid-air. ‘Says the man cutting the support cables’ Fantomex remarks as everyone falls off. ‘Dare I insinuate you erred?’ Fantomex asks Logan as he fires his weapon at warriors falling around him. ‘Wouldn’t recommend it’ Logan replies.

Fantomex tells himself that the estimated time to impact is four seconds, and the number of targets remaining is five. He shots one of them, bringing the targets down to four. Wolverine gets skewered by a bid-faced warrior, calling him a “race traitor, swine”. Fantomex takes out another warrior, while Logan tells the warrior that it is not about race, while the warrior uses some sort of electrocuting device on Logan, which strips the flesh from his arm. Fantomex takes out another warrior, deciding to leave the last four his scruffy-little badger-friend with the delicate ego. ‘I’m an equal opportunity killer’ Logan declares as he takes the bird-face warrior out.

Fantomex lands on the ground, ‘Gads! Evil fodder types eagerly springing towards certain demise. How gauche’ he exclaims as more Clan Akkaba warriors race towards him. Fantomex spins around and puts his hands on the ground, while Wolverine runs towards him, ‘Ya never know - might just be - this is the band of faceless goons that finally takes us out!’ Logan declares as Fantomex hurls him towards the warriors - whom he promptly slices and dices with his razor-sharp adamantium claws, adding ‘But I wouldn’t bet on it’. Logan points out that it is bad to happen, ‘So don’t give up’ he tells the warriors, when suddenly, Fantomex notices a stream of beetles racing towards Logan. He calls out to his teammate, but Fantomex cannot act, as he gets tied up.

Logan drops to his knees, ‘Off - get ‘em the hell off!’ he shouts as the beetles crawl all over him, and he tears to get them off - but they enter his mouth, and Logan drops to the floor with a thud. Gunk pours out of one of Logan’s eye sockets, while Fantomex lies motionless beside him - and three of Apocalypse’s Final Horsemen stand over them. Death calls Pestilence his beloved and tells her to savor this memory, as her beetles have devoured the brains of a man long thought impossible to kill. Pestilence tells Death that it was overly simple and that the victory holds no great satisfaction.

Death remarks that not all accomplishments must be hard-won to have great significance. ‘Inform Ozymandias these two trespassers have been overcome and we set out to hunt the other -’ he begins, before a voice announces ‘Enjoy your stay’. ‘What? Who is there?’ Death calls out. ‘Forgive me…the misdirection hasn’t ended yet’ the voice remarks. ‘There. Now you can see’ EVA remarks as Death, Pestilence and Famine find themselves transported to another planet. ‘Hell! That damned illusionist has painted us another lie!’ Death exclaims. EVA hovers over them, informing the Final Horsemen that the planet is inhabitable, but she is afraid that the indigenous life is less than cordial. ‘Best of luck’ she adds.

Back on the moon, Wolverine asks Fantomex if it worked. Fantomex replies that EVA has deposited them on a planet far, far away. ‘Tell your flying nervous system I owe her a drink’ Logan remarks as he holds Fantomex up, as Fantomex reveals that he has never attempted misdirection of such magnitude, or for so long. ‘You waiting for a gold star? We ain’t outta the woods yet. War’s still rattling around somewhere’ Logan points out as he puts Fantomex on his back and begins to carry him down the corridor. But Fantomex explains that for EVA to be free of War’s influence, War must be out of commission.

Fantomex supposes that Betsy took the monster down and severed his connection. ‘That ol’ gal’s the real deal’ Wolverine remarks. ‘Indeed she is’ Fantomex agrees, while Wolverine declares that it is time for Apocalypse. ‘Given our condition, that shouldn’t prove too arduous a task’ Fantomex remarks. ‘I like the optimism’ Logan tells him. ‘Did I fail to sell the sarcasm?’ Fantomex asks.

In the control room, Ozymandias examines the situation, and exclaims that the Horsemen simply allowed that ship to take them. ‘How?’ he asks, before demanding to know where War is. ‘I’m surrounded by incompetence!’ Ozymandias declares, before one of the servants calls out to him, announcing that one of Xavier’s assassins has infiltrated Lord Apocalypse’s chamber. Ozymandias looks at a monitor and sees Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock standing in Apocalypse’s chamber. Ozymandias asks if Apocalypse is alive, to which the servant replies that with ship’s intelligence down, she cannot tell. ‘Damn fool! I never should have left his side!’ Ozymandias declares, taking a sword.

Suddenly, ‘Hey, mister. Have you seen our dog? Bad breath, adamantium claws, a bit mangy…’ Deadpool declares as he and Archangel enter the room, and Warren proceeds to release several deadly wing-knives at Ozymandias, which strike him down. Archangel picks up Deadpool and they fly through the complex, with Warren thinking to himself that the closer they get to their target, the louder the monster rages within him. Although Betsy’s influence has kept Archangel reduced to background noise, he is still there - plotting.

Deadpool tells Warren that they should team up al the time. ‘You’re the perfect foil to my joker - like the Chuck D and Flava Flav of the super hero set!’ Deadpool exclaims. Warren tells himself that Archangel tells him tyo strike down his friends, listing efficient ways to do it, repeating the same command - “rejoin your master”. But Warren will not. Instead, he plans to destroy Apocalypse. Warren and Wade drop down alongside Logan and Fantomex. ‘Hey, look, it’s Grumpy Guy and the Snotty Elitist!’ Deadpool exclaims. Wolverine asks Archangel if his feathers still have that paralysing neurotoxin on them, to which Warren replies they do. Logan grabs a feather and shoves it into Deadpool’s upper lip. ‘Ready?’ Logan asks. ‘None of us are ready for this’ Archangel declares as he uses his wings to slice open the door to Apocalypse’s chamber.

The door falls down, and inside, the heroes find Betsy and the boy Apocalypse. Everyone looks at Betsy, who suddenly raises her katana and announces ‘You will not touch a single hair on this child’s head’. She adds that anyone who tries will have to go through her. ‘Okay, Betts…ease down’ Wolverine calls out. Archangel adds that whether Apocalypse is man or child, if they allow him to live, the result will be the same. Betsy points out that it doesn’t have to be, as he is still a child, and they can train him. She lowers her sword, while Archangel declares that this is not an innocent child, but a blood-thirsty murderer.

‘No. He is a child, Warren. A mutant child. If we kill the boy for what he one day might do, what does that make us?’ Betsy asks. ‘Heroes who stopped the Armageddon that thing will one day cause’ Warren exclaims, pointing at the boy. Betsy asks him how he can be so certain about that, to which Archangel declares that Akkaba made this doe-eyed child to deceive them. ‘Believe me!’ Warren exclaims. He adds that no nurturing will cleanse this beast’s nature, that there is no rehabilitating that thing.

‘Would you not extend him the same clemency that we afforded you? Should we have killed you once you became infected by Archangel?’ Betsy asks. The voice in Warren’s head cries out to him, telling him to serve his master, to kill the assassins. ‘No’ Warren thinks back. But the voice tells him to kill them all to protect his master. ‘No. Kill the boy. While I have the strength’ Warren replies. ‘You’ll regret this as long as you live!’ Betsy exclaims as she lunges at Warren, her katana clanging against Warren’s wings, while a couple of wing-knives land at the boy Apocalypse’s feet. Warren growls, before reaching out to punch Betsy, who dodges him. ‘Damn you, Warren!’ Betsy exclaims.

Wolverine stands and stares at the boy, while Betsy declares ‘I will not allow this!’ as she leaps over Warren’s wings which reach out to slice her. ‘I’m not asking!’ Warren declares, while the voice in his head tells him to kill them. But ‘Kill Apocalypse’ is what Warren tells himself, before calling out to Wolverine: ‘Logan - do it! Now!’ he exclaims. Deadpool and Fantomex look on as Wolverine unsheathes his claws, and the boy begins to cry.

‘STOP!’ Betsy screams, kicking Warren in the head, Warren falls to the floor, and Betsy stands over him, ready to bring her katana down upon him. ‘Stop right now, or I’ll…’ she begins. ‘You’ll what? Kill me to save him?’ Warren asks. Betsy closes her eyes, while Wolverine exclaims ‘Enough. Betsy’s right. We shouldn’t do this. Logan helps Warren off the floor, and Warren remarks that he agrees, they shouldn’t - ‘But we must!’ he exclaims as he spins around, whis wings striking Wolverine and Betsy, knocking them over.

Archangel strides towards the boy, exclaiming ‘I know what’s inside you. You put a piece of it in me. You will grow to hurt millions of people’. Warren looms over the boy, who swears that he won’t. ‘You can’t help yourself. You are Apocalypse’ Warren exclaims, before growling, as he prepares to strike - before suddenly dropping to his knees and exclaiming that he can’t. Warren covers his face and declares ‘Gold help us all. I can’t do it’. Betsy comes up and puts her arms around him, telling him that they understand, they all understand.

Wolverine announces that it is the right move, that they will bring the boy back with them and train him best they can - BLAM - there is a gunshot, and Logan, Warren and Betsy spin around to find the boy Apocalypse lying on the blood, his head smouldering after the gun shot, and blood seeping around him - while Fantomex stands nearby, his gun still smouldering. Wolverine, Archangel and Betsy all look at Fantomex in varying states of expression.

Suddenly, the floor rumbles underneath them, and they are knocked over as a voice announces ‘Teleport jump in twenty seconds’. Fantomex informs his colleagues that EVA has informed him that the ship is repaired and he cannot stop it from teleporting again. ‘Time to go!’ he declares. Betsy looks back and glares at Fantomex, who stands over the boy Apocalypse’s body, before closing the boy’s eyes.

A short time later, EVA departs from the moon, and inside, X-Force sit in silence. Fantomex stares straight ahead as he pilots EVA, while Deadpool rubs his head, confused. Wolverine hangs his head, while Archangel covers his face with his hands, and Betsy looks away to her left. No one speaks as X-Force return to Earth.

Characters Involved: 

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



Clan Akkaba


Ship / Old woman

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

Story Notes: 

The other Ship that Wolverine refers to is Apocalypse’s former vessel, an artefact of the Celestials, which was later used as the headquarters for the original X-Factor.
Chuck D and Flavor Flav were both members of the rap band Public Enemy.

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