Uncanny X-Force (2nd series) #16

Issue Date: 
March 2014
Story Title: 
Vendetta, part two

Sam Humphries (writer), Harvey Tolibao & Dexter Soy (artists), David Curiel (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (letterer), Ramon Perez (cover artist), Xander Jarowey (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Nick Lowe (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)


Brief Description: 

Storm, Psylocke, Spiral and Puck confront Cable who is on a mission to find Bishop, who was captured along with Hope. Psylocke and her team try to talk Cable down, believing that if he goes after Bishop it will only create more trouble. Cable is angry at Storm and Psylocke for not warning them Bishop was back in this time. When Cable prepares to fire his weapon at them, Storm fires at him with a lightning bolt. At that moment, Cable’s X-Force team arrive on scene and a battle ensues, with Storm and Forge reunited for the first time in a while. Spiral teleports Cable away from the others, but Domino finds her, so she teleports herself and Domino away. Eventually, Cable wakes and manipulates Spiral into teleporting him away. Meanwhile, Bishop wakes to find himself imprisoned in a room near Hope. Both are shackled and chained. Hope tries to reach for a psimitar so she can use it to kill Bishop. He tries to talk to her, but she has nothing but hate and contempt for him given how he ruined her childhood. Hope tells him how his pursuit of her has affected her life, before Stryfe visits them. He talks about revenge, and reveals how he killed Apocalypse after he was stranded in his laboratory fortress. He then talks to Hope and claims that Cable is the clone, not he. Stryfe then offers to make Hope’s wildest dreams come true. Cable and Spiral arrive at their new location, an old Mutant Liberation Front bunker, where they are confronted by Stryfe.

Full Summary: 

‘Nobody wants a fight. Let’s stake our weapons and discuss this’ Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock suggests as she shoves her sword into the concrete, shattering part of the ground. ‘Hope’s tracking signal is fading fast. You’ve got thirty seconds’ Nathan Summers a.k.a. Cable replies as he slams his large weapon into the ground. Betsy stands with her teammates Ororo “Storm” Munroe, Spiral and Eugene Milton Judd a.k.a. Puck just outside a busted up building. ‘Cable, if you didn’t kill Bishop -’ Betsy begins. ‘It’s Stryfe. He’s got Bishop and Hope’ Cable announces. ‘Stryfe? Stryfe is dead’ Betsy declares. ‘How did a dead man kidnap my daughter?’ Cable asks, referring to Hope. ‘We go back a long way, Cable -’ Betsy begins. Cable interrupts her that it is apparently not long enough for her to give him a heads-up that Bishop is hale and hearty here in the present.  

‘We handled the situation without continuing the blood and revenge. We don’t believe he’s a threat to you’ Betsy explains. Cable narrows his one good eye and asks Betsy how the hell she is qualified to judge what Bishop is and is not capable of? ‘You weren’t hunted by him across a thousand years! You weren’t there!’  

Storm raises her hands and asks Cable to be calm. ‘Bishop was barely gone here, but he lived for years in the future. He’s changed’ Storm explains, asking Cable if he has come after him thus far. ‘Oh sure, Storm. Bishop the terminator had a change of heart. How sweet and charming. I’m sure it had nothing to do with a little psychic persuasion’ Cable mocks. ‘Right, Psylocke?’ ‘Heh-heh. Oops’ Spiral mutters quietly. ‘Well -’ Betsy begins, while Puck readies his fists: ‘Just say the word, Lizzie’ he tells Psylocke, who asks him to stop calling her Lizzie.  

Storm moves closer to Cable and explains that it was Hope who attacked first, and now they have neither of them. ‘You gonna stand here and blame my daughter?’ Cable snaps, admitting that it was a damn fool move, but that Bishop buried her childhood under a mountain of corpses. ‘Hope is trying her best to play a rotten hand, but Bishop… I’ll send him to the devil to answer for his sins’. Spiral turns to Puck and asks ‘When do we get to beat the hell out of this self-righteous grandpa?’ to which Puck grits his teeth and assures Spiral that they are almost there. Betsy moves closer to Cable too, and tells him that whoever has Bishop and Hope, they will find them together. ‘I don’t trust you and I don’t need you. And once I’ve got Hope I’m coming back for you’ Cable warns, but Psylocke remarks that he is just proving their point - and declares that he is not going after Bishop alone.  

‘You’re right about one thing. We’ve known each other a long time. And you know me well enough to know I won’t let you stop me’ Cable replies as he reaches for his large weapon. ‘Cable, don’t move -’ Storm calls out, while Betsy tells him that if he doesn’t fear them, he should. ‘Your thirty seconds are up’ Cable snaps as he fires up his weapon. ‘I warned you’ Storm declares as she casts a burst of lightning towards her former teammate, sending him careening backwards, when suddenly a voice calls out, ‘You’d better hold up, Storm’, as an explosion knocks Storm, Betsy, Judd and Spiral over. ‘Who?’ Betsy wonders. ‘Hey now!’ Judd exclaims, as Cable’s teammates Forge, Doctor Nemesis, Domino, Tabitha “Boom Boom” Smith and Piotr Rasputin a.k.a. Colossus appear. ‘That’s our man you’re trying to barbeque’ Forge calls out, holding a weapon aimed at Betsy and her team. ‘Real talk’ Boom Boom exclaims, her explosive plasma time-bombs ready to be thrown again.  

Elsewhere, Bishop moans as he regains consciousness. ‘Come on - almost there - nnnf!’ Hope groans as she concentrates hard. Bishop rubs his head and calls out to Hope who exclaims ‘Damn it!’ as she is unable to reach the weapon in the middle of the room that she and Bishop are both captive in. They are shackled and chained, and as he gathers himself, Bishop asks ‘Where the hell are we?’ Hope looks away from Bishop and tells him that they are the last place he wants to be - alone in a room with her. Hope gets to her feet, ‘Can you -?’ Bishop begins, but Hope tells him that if she could reach that psimitar it would be buried in his neck right now. Bishop looks at his hands and realizes there are mutagenic dampeners in the room, their powers will not work.  

Bishop tells Hope that they have to get out of here - that Stryfe was hunting them, and he knew exactly when to strike. ‘Now you know how it feels to be hunted by a psycho, you bastard’ Hope scowls, telling Bishop that he better pray she doesn’t get free first, because she will not hesitate to slit his damn throat.  

Bishop pulls on the chains connected to the shackles on his wrists and tells Hope that is exactly what Stryfe wants. ‘Please - hear me. You have no need to fear me. I know - I made mistakes’ Bishop admits. ‘Mistakes?’ Hope shouts. ‘Like terrorizing me when I was a child? Was that a mistake? How many times did you throw a grenade at me? Do you remember murdering my adopted mother?’ Hope demands. Bishop just hangs his head. ‘ANSWER ME!’ Hope screams. Without looking up, Bishop tells Hope that he does remember - but he wishes he didn’t.  

‘Hope - I have much to say to you. And I wanted to do it in a more ideal situation, but - in those days, I lived in fear and anger. In the future, some people helped me control my emotions. They helped me realize - I was wrong. I know I owe you more than apologies. I owe you -’ Bishop begins as Hope asks ‘What about my childhood? Can you wash the blood off my first sixteen years? How about a good night’s sleep? Can you give that to me?’  

She struggles again, leaning forward to reach the psimitar and declares that she doesn’t have nightmares of clowns in gutters or monsters who don’t exist - her monster is real, and he is right in front of her. ‘And I’m sick of living in fear’ Hope adds as she almost reaches the psimitar. ‘Hope, I -’ Bishop begins, before jolts of energy course through both of their bodies, and Hope cries out in pain.  

Meanwhile: ‘Okay, team, grab Cable and crush anyone who gets in your way’ Domino orders X-Force. ‘These are our friends -’ Colossus points out, while Doctor Nemesis remarks that they have a teleporter and Boom Boom mutters that she always hated ‘capture the flag’ in gym class. ‘We’re just taking Cable and leaving, Boom Boom’ Forge remarks.   

‘More jerks to punch’ Spiral exclaims, reaching for two of her swords. Puck tells his old acquaintance Domino that she is looking good, but that she ain’t got what it takes, this time. Betsy calls out to Colossus not to do this, while telepathically informing Spiral to move slowly to Cable, and instructs Storm to keep the other X-Force talking. ‘Is that all you’ve got to say to me, Forge?’ Storm asks her old flame.  

‘Hiya, Ororo’ Forge responds, while Storm reminds him that the last time she saw him, he tried to end the world. ‘I was sick. And the guy who saved me is the one smoldering behind you’ Forge replies, asking Storm to step aside. ‘You always were in over your head’ Storm comments, adding that they can’t let Cable go after Stryfe alone, as he will kill Bishop the first chance he gets. ‘Can you blame him? ‘someone asks, while Storm tells Forge that Cable is going to hunt Bishop down the way Bishop hunted Hope. ‘You see where that got us’. she remarks.  

Doctor Nemesis tells his teammates that the others can teleport Cable anywhere, any time. Forge asks Doctor Nemesis for some space, but the brash scientist replies ‘Screw this’ and fires a weapon, tagging Cable with a tracker. ‘Nemesis, no!’ Forge shouts, while Betsy telepathically tells Spiral to ‘Go’. Standing over Cable, the six-armed teleporter replies ‘I’m on it!’ and she then teleports herself and Cable away. ‘Damn it, Nemesis!’ Domino exclaims. ‘They went… up?’ Nemesis replies, looking at his tracking device.  

‘Perfect’ Spiral mutters as she and Cable materialize on a busy street, packed with cars. ‘Hey, what the hell?’ a man calls out as Spiral grabs him and throws him out of his convertible car. ‘Catch a bus, scrub’ Spiral declares. Domino is already on a motorcycle, ‘I see you, you six-armed witch!’ she calls out, while Spiral puts Cable in the passenger seat, and checks the car:’ Stick shift? No problem’ she decides, as Domino fires some sort of explosive towards the car - which detonates and sends the car crashing into a nearby truck. ‘Damn you’ Spiral mutters, checking that Cable is still unconscious, she teleports to Domino, ‘That was a hell of a car!’ Spiral exclaims as Domino looks up at her.

‘This century is dreadful’ Stryfe mutters as he emerges from the shadows and approaches Bishop and Hope, who seem to be frozen in place thanks to the energy that coursed through their bodies. ‘The ponderous transportation. The rancid glut of sovereign nations. The smell. The dirt. The mutants’ He reaches for the psimitar and declares that there is one thing this century excels in - revenge. He holds the weapon up high, while Bishop grits his teeth and exclaims ‘This is bull #$%&. We left the real Stryfe behind in the year 2973AD. You’re just some buster in his armor and old Mutant Liberation Front bunker’. There is a KLIK as Stryfe removes his helmet, I suppose you think you have a monopoly on time-travel, Bishop? Besides - who else do you know with this face?’ Stryfe grins wickedly as he reveals himself - practically identical to Cable save for that Stryfe has two eyes and a few less scars.  

‘The face of a clone. Proves nothing’ Bishop declares. ‘I’m the authentic item, Bishop. You and I had a deal, remember?’ Stryfe replies. He reminds Bishop that he betrayed him, left him to Apocalypse and his depraved laboratory fortress. Stryfe reveals that he languished there for years, and while Apocalypse performed his horrendous tortures upon him, he thought of all of them. ‘I was patient. I planned. I escaped. And before I did… I got my revenge’. Bishop narrows his eyes and asks ‘You killed Apocalypse? You’re a liar’. Stryfe tells Bishop to believe what he will, but declares that they both know the truth - and they both know the truth about what Bishop did. ‘Speaking of… no warm welcome for your father, Hope?’ Stryfe goads Hope, who scowls at him and tells him that he isn’t her father, just his clone.  

Stryfe looks into the psimitar and sees images of himself, Cable, Hope and Apocalypse. ‘Wrong. Cable is <i>my</i> clone!’ Stryfe declares. ‘Because of him I was raised by the cold hand of Apocalypse. I didn’t have the caring protection of “Slym” and “Redd”. But we do fight like brothers…in the past - and the future - where he left me to die’ Stryfe remarks. He declares that he is back in the here and now, where Cable is at his weakest. ‘And then there’s you, his daughter. Cable would happily die for you. The perfect target. And yet - I’m not here to harm you. I’m here to make your wildest dreams come true. Is that something that interests you?’ Stryfe asks, and Hope goes wide-eyed with curiosity.  

At that moment, Forge and his teammates rush towards the car on the bridge where Spiral left Cable. ‘I’ll load him up and we can end this before -’ Colossus begins, but Boom Boom interrupts him and tells him to forget that, just grab the keys and they can ride. Storm, Betsy and Judd arrive at the same time, with Storm telling Forge that she doesn’t want to do this - but she will. ‘Peter, back down, little brother’ Betsy calls out to Colossus, while Judd exclaims ‘You heard the ladies - step away from the car!’ Storm creates a strong wind which blows the other team backwards. ‘Category five typhoon!’ Doctor Nemesis calls out, while Forge tells Storm to stop. ‘I will not yield!’ Colossus exclaims as he tries to withstand the strong wind. ‘Waahooo!’ Boom Boom calls out as she floats through the air.

‘No - look out!’ Forge shouts as he slams into some debris, and he fires his weapon, which strikes Storm, causing her to fall backwards. Betsy moves towards Forge, who is horrified, but Betsy pushes him up against the debris. ‘It was an accident!’ Forge exclaims. ‘Don’t you ever shoot my girl again!’ Betsy warns him, holding her psi-knife to his face. Betsy holds Forge in place and telepathically calls out to Colossus, telling him that this is not who he is, and that they are trying to end this peacefully. ‘You have a funny way of showing it, Elizabeth’ Colossus replies. ‘This is the only way’ Betsy tells him, causing Colossus to tell her that it is she who is betraying who she is. ‘When did you become so dogmatic you only believe in one way? Cable is our leader -’ Colossus begins, when suddenly, a loud horn sounds, and he turns to find a massive truck speeding towards him.

The truck crashes into Colossus, who is luckily in his armored form. ‘Haha, how you like my new wheels, Pete?’ Puck calls out, tooting the horn again while singing a song. Betsy telepathically informs Spiral that she has secured Cable, and asks her to get them out of here. ‘I’m busy!’ Spiral responds. ‘Cable is the priority!’ Betsy replies. ‘I’m busy smashing Domino into the highway -’ Spiral replies, when suddenly, Boom Boom leaps towards Betsy and tosses a plasma time-bomb her way. ‘Batter up, Violet Beauregard!’ she exclaims. ‘Bloody hell!’ Betsy gasps as she narrowly dodges the time-bomb, but it explodes behind her, knocking her out of the way of Cable. ‘Steeerike! Brits just don’t get baseball’ Boom Boom exclaims, while Doctor Nemesis injects Cable with a shot of gamma adrenaline, which causes him to wake. ‘Hope!’ Cable shouts.  

‘Guten morgen, mein liebchen’ Doctor Nemesis speaks to Cable in German, while Cable tells Nemesis that he has no time for this. ‘The one with the arms - give her a bad nightmare. Now!’ Cable orders. ‘Your wish is my etcetera. A serum from the MK-Ultra Cookbook. A golden oldie. Just like us’ Doctor Nemesis replies as he loads his weapon, adding that, like them, this one never goes out of style. And nearby, Spiral and Domino are surrounded by many knocked over cars. ‘That hurt, you squid-arm doxy -’ Domino declares as she rubs her shoulder. ‘Dalmatian dog -’ Spiral calls out, when suddenly, the syringe is fired from Nemesis’ weapon and lands in Spiral’s neck. ‘Ow! Son of a - of a…of a…’ Spiral utters as she falls to the ground, and believes she is seeing several grotesque Mojos before her. ‘MOJO?’ she screams. ‘You’ve been very bad, Spiral’ the fake Mojo calls out. ‘Oh God no oh God nooo-’ Spiral utters, before Cable goes over and grabs her.  

Cable tells Spiral that he has her. ‘The world feels bad and broken, I know. I’m going to show you a way out’ Cable declares as he holds a control pad up, explaining that there is a place free of fear and anxiety, a place where they can find… <i>hope</i>. ‘Here. You can teleport us there. Are you with me?’ Cable asks Spiral, who is in a mesmerized state. ‘Oh - okay…’ Spiral replies, and an instant later, she opens a portal and she and Cable disappear. ‘Cable, wait!’ Domino calls out, while Boom Boom asks if this means they lost capture the flag. ‘For once, Boom - I have no idea’ Doctor Nemesis remarks.   

An instant later, the portal opens, ‘HOPE!’ Cable shouts as he and Spiral arrive in the new location. Examining his surroundings, Cable recognizes this is an old Mutant Liberation Front bunker, and he tells Spiral that they have a lot of ground to cover, and that she is going to help him do it. ‘Cable…you slimy bastard -’ Spiral begins while Able grabs her by her collar. ‘Only you could hijack a teleporter and ask for more. I brought you where you wanted to go. My job is done -’ Spiral smirks, when suddenly, a voice calls out ‘Cable! You’re earlier. But for you, I can be flexible’ and Cable and Spiral look up to see, standing over them, Stryfe!

Characters Involved: 

Bishop, Psylocke, Puck, Spiral, Storm (all Uncanny X-Force)

Boom-Boom, Cable, Colossus, Domino, Doctor Nemesis, Forge, Hope (all X-Force)  





Story Notes: 

This issue follows Cable & X-Force #18 and continues in Cable & X-Force #19.   

Bishop terrorized Hope and Cable all through the second Cable series, believing Hope would grow up to cause his dystopic future.

Actually Bishop didn’t kill Hope’s adoptive mother, though one could argue he indirectly created the situation in which she was killed.

“Clowns in gutters” probably refers to the horrific clown Pennywise in Stephen King’s “It”.

Storm refers to seeing Forge last when he tried to end the world. This encounter took place in Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #25-30, after which Forge was presumed deceased, until Cable found him and helped him heal his mind.

Stryfe and Bishop worked together during the Messiah War crossover.

"Guten Morgen, mein Liebchen", is (old-fashioned) German for "good morning, Darling".

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