Uncanny X-Force (2nd series) #3

Issue Date: 
May 2013
Story Title: 
Sweet Virginia

Sam Humphries (writer), Ron Garney (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), Adrian Alphona & Christina Strain (mindscape pages), Marte Gracia with Israel Gonzalez (colorists), Virtual Calligraphy’s Cory Petit (letterer), Kris Anka (cover artist), Salvador Larroca & Frank D’Armata (variant cover artists), Jordan D White (associate editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Special Thanks to Steven Chism, Daniel Henriques & Allen Martinez

Brief Description: 

Psylocke, Storm and Puck have captured an angry Spiral, who is worried about the new mutant Ginny. Spiral explains how she was exiled from Mojoworld. Her powers almost depleted, she was left to wander Earth, and found Ginny. Psylocke is able to telepathically track Ginny, and they agree to let Spiral teleport to her. Materializing in darkness, Puck thinks it is a trap, and they narrowly avoid being run down by a subway train. Bishop appears with Ginny, and a battle ensues, during which Spiral manages to teleport into a train with Ginny, and Psylocke shoves her psi-knife into Bishop. Entering his mind, she finds it a strange place, with a mysterious white owl flying about, before she is confronted by a large growling bear. Meanwhile, Fantomex and Cluster have hijacked a passenger plane to return to the States, and jump out of it, wanting to find Psylocke, unaware that Dark Fantomex is on the plane watching them.

Full Summary: 

Flashback images:

Betsy Braddock was sixteen when she first moved to New York. She was living away from home for the first time, living her dreams. Then one day, her “migraines” became something quite different. Photo shoots led to vomiting sessions. No modeling coach can teach you how to shut out the thoughts of 16.3 million people. Betsy didn’t leave her apartment for a month. She was alone, broke and crippled by her gift. But little did she know that years later…


…she would be in an abandoned warehouse in downtown Los Angeles, injured, lying in garbage and missing the “good old days”. Rubble all around her, Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock rubs her arm, while her friend and teammate Storm a.k.a. Ororo Munroe asks her if she can sit up. ‘What happened?’ Betsy inquires. ‘Nothing good, my dear’ Storm responds, before telling Betsy to take a minute, as she is going to wish she was unconscious again. ‘Welcome to my life. Did we win?’ Betsy asks. ‘Does it feel like it?’ Storm replies. ‘#$%& me. Everything hurts. My arm - wait. Where’s Bishop?’ Betsy asks. Storm tells her that he ran off when he realized the girl disappeared. ‘Then where’s the girl?’ Betsy demands, while a voice calls out ‘I swear - if he hurts her, I’ll kill him!’ It is Spiral, who kneels on the floor, her six arms tied behind her back.

Eugene Milton Judd a.k.a. Puck, working with Storm and Betsy tells Spiral ‘Whoa-ho, momma bear! Save it for the trip home’, and announces that this mission is toast, so they should load Spiral up and get her to Logan in New York. Storm announces that they are staying. She informs Puck that she is calling in a strike team from the school so they can bring that girl in. ‘She’s a new mutant - those are still precious. She needs our help’ Storm explains. Puck reminds Storm that their mission was to bust up a drug dealer, and the drug dealer got busted up. ‘End of story’ he declares. ‘Logan didn’t say anything about street urchins or psychotic time-travelers’. He takes his top off and gives it to Betsy to use as a sling for her injured arm. ‘We just lucked out of an ass-kicking. I’m the leader here and we are -’ Puck begins, before Storm reminds him that she is headmistress, and so she is pulling rank. Puck tells Storm that he loves her, but that this is not prep school. ‘This is real life and if I -’ he starts, but Psylocke tells him to wait, and goes over to Spiral, her hated foe, and asks her what Bishop wants with the girl. ‘She has a name, you know. It’s Ginny. And how should I know? We’re just trying to survive out here’ Spiral responds, scowling, and her mind flashes back.

Flashback images:

Survival is a skill she learned years ago. She was a human stuntwoman until she was abducted and transformed into a cosmic ninja - a slave. Her master, Mojo, became displeased with her service, and removed her ability to teleport between dimensions. She was returned to Earth. Trapped. Debased. Hopeless. She wandered the streets, until she found Ginny, using her power on some homeless men. Spiral saw something in the young girl - a gold mine. Spiral did not expect that the girl would one day save her life.


‘You jaded, faded, junkie nurse’ Puck calls Spiral in amongst the ruins of the laboratory. ‘What was I supposed to do on this stupid planet? Get a job at In-n-Out-Burger? They don’t exactly hire six-armed super villains’ Spiral replies. She adds that she is just trying to survive as best she can. ‘But I can’t build a life without you X-Men coming down on me’ she mutters. ‘We are not the X-Men’ Storm points out. ‘You ain’t that lucky’ Puck adds, before remarking that dealing drugs is a hell of a career choice for a ninja. ‘You are so dense’ Spiral frowns, revealing that the drugs are garbage - cold medicine, pain killers, candy - nothing special. ‘They were something we could sell, a way to make money. There are no drugs. Ginny is the drug’.

Psylocke turns away from Spiral and remarks that it was Ginny’s psychic powers that gave those kids something they were desperate to feel - a sense of belonging. ‘That poor girl. She’s got a head start on us, but we can still catch her if -’ Psylocke begins, but Judd interrupts her, ‘Don’t finish that sentence’ he warns her, adding that they are not going on a wild mutant chase. Betsy tells him that they can’t wait for a team to show up from the school. ‘By the time they get here, Bishop will kill her. Or worse’. Storm admits that this is not the smart play. ‘But if something happens to her…’ Storm’s voice trails off, before she asks Betsy if she thinks Bishop has it in him to kill that little girl.

‘He’s tried it before, Storm. You saw him just now. You know what he’s capable of’ Betsy replies, before pointing out that the girl, Ginny, is completely overwhelmed with her new powers, and she probably doesn’t even know what is real anymore. ‘And now she’s alone, lost… and hunted. We’re all she’s got. I’m going after her. You two can do what you want’ Betsy tells Storm and Puck. The trio move in closer and continue the discussion, with Storm assuming that Betsy has a plan, while Judd asks them about their dreadlocked friend. Betsy reports that she can track Ginny’s psychic avatar with her telepathy, that she is hiding, but not good enough to hide from her. Betsy turns her sword to Spiral’s neck and announces that they will just have to get to her before Bishop does - with their teleporter. ‘Spiral, if for one second you ‘port us into a trap, I’ll slice you open so fast -’ Betsy begins, while Spiral smiles.

Meanwhile, a jumbo jet airliner moves across the night sky. Inside, the crew and passengers have been gathered in one cabin, some of them are tied up. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, if you look to your left, you will see the City of Los Angeles - which means it is time for us to part ways’ one of the hijackers announces. He reports that their pilot is currently enjoying a dose of psychedelic narcotics, but that he should recover before they crash into the Pacific. ‘Heh heh ehh heh heh…’ the pilot laughs, his eyes glazed over as he sits alongside the rest of the hostages. ‘We know you have many options when booking your travel plans - and we want to thank you for choosing Fantomex Airlines. Have a pleasant day’ Fantomex declares as he and Cluster aim their weapons at the crew and passengers.

Fantomex and Cluster, in their identical costumes, move towards one of the doors, and Cluster reveals that she has butterflies in her stomach. ‘Do you think we should have called ahead?’ she asks. Fantomex explains that the element of surprise is crucial, that if they somehow tipped off Dark Fantomex, it would be a disaster. He opens the door and tells Cluster not to worry, as EVA is going to keep Dark Fantomex busy in his Himalayan hideout, miles away. ‘Leaving us to follow our hearts. Now - let’s go find out Betsy!’ Fantomex declares as he and Cluster leap from the plane, and plummet to the ground below as the moon shines down on them. They open their parachutes, unaware that on the tail of the jumbo jet, Dark Fantomex is watching them and narrows his eyes.

At that moment, Spiral teleports into darkness with Storm, Betsy and Judd. ‘Where are we?’ Storm asks through the darkness. Judd wraps a powerful hand around Spiral’s throat, ‘What the hell -? Spiral, you backstabber, I’m gonna ring your bell like -’ he begins, while Spiral calls him a scumbag and tells him to take his hands off him, as she only took them all to where Betsy showed her. Psi-knife ready, Betsy reports that Spiral is telling the truth, that she located Ginny here, but now she can’t sense anything.

‘This stinks like yesterdays’ fish - eh?’ Judd mutters, before he hears a noise rattling towards them, and bright lights shine down on them. ‘Look out!’ Judd shouts as he pushes Psylocke out of the way, as the four press against what they realize is a subway tunnel wall, as the subway train speeds past them with immense power.

‘A subway tunnel? I didn’t even know Los Angeles had a subway’ Betsy remarks, while Storm suggests that whatever they are doing, they need to do it quickly, as they are trapped down here. Storm’s mind wanders back, to long before 9/11, where she had the distinction of being the only survivor of a plane that crashed into a building. The experience left her with traumatic claustrophobia - she was only six years old.

Psylocke tells her companions that Ginny was just here, but that she can’t pick up any psychic signatures, including the three of them. ‘Wait. We’re not alone’ Betsy reveals, and she moves her psi-knife around, it lights up the darkened tunnel, to see Bishop, his hulking form looming over her, roaring, as he holds Ginny in one arm. ‘Bishop!’ Storm gasps. ‘Ginny!’ Spiral exclaims. ‘Oh #$%&’ Puck mutters, before Bishop fires a massive charge of energy, that knocks them all backwards through the tunnel.

Puck urgently instructs Spiral to get them out of here, but Spiral declares that they are not leaving without Ginny. Betsy tells Storm that they need firepower, so Storm tells the others to stand back, and she releases crackles of lighting that surge forward - but Bishop is not where he was. ‘Where did he go?’ Betsy wonders. ‘It’s too damn dark -’ Puck calls out, while Storm states that she could not have missed, as he was right in front of them. A second later, Puck is slammed into the wall, as Bishop is actually behind everyone. Storm calls out to Puck, while Bishop grabs Betsy by her neck, and pulls her into the air. However, Betsy manages to move her sword backwards and slice his arm, causing him to release her.

They hear another subway train rampage towards them. Just in time, Betsy moves off the tracks and the long train separates her from Bishop. Spiral clings to the tunnel roof, while Judd lies between the tracks, the train passing over him. Bishop is on the other side, and he and Betsy stare at each other through the windows of the train. ‘Bishop…’ Betsy calls out, while Bishop growls at her again, and as soon as the train passes them, they lunge at each other. Betsy manages to draw blood with her sword, and Bishop keels over. ‘Sorted’ Betsy calls out, while Spiral announces that she is over this, and raises her arms, while her other arms hold Ginny close. ‘Spiral!’ Ginny exclaims. ‘I came for you - and now we’re leaving’ Spiral tells her, as they disappear, and rematerialize on the train. ‘What the -?’ a passenger remarks, looking confused. Spiral holds Ginny close and tells her that they made it, they escaped.

But, back in the dark tunnel, ‘Spiral abandoned us! That #$%&!’ Puck exclaims as Betsy rushes towards Bishop again, sword and psi-knife ready, she flips over him and plunges her psi-knife into his brain. Bishop looks shocked, and Betsy goes wide-eyed as she enters Bishop’s mind. There, her appearance has changed slightly, and she looks around. Lobster-like creatures walk around her, while a black and red tower spirals up towards the purple sky. ‘Damn it. I’m in Bishop’s head’ Betsy realizes, and makes her way towards the tower, knowing that there is only one way out. But, she finds a tangled mess of paths, all leading to a cage with a deer inside it. Betsy goes over to the cage, and puts a hand on the deer, ‘Bishop, is that you? This is a prison? Who did this to you?’ she asks him.

Suddenly, Betsy realizes that they are not alone, as a white owl swoops towards them, singing. It occurs to Betsy, too late, that the tunnel was not the trap - this was the trap, as burst of energy knocks her back, and the white owl hovers overhead, while a giant bear tears about some of the paths inside Bishop’s mind, and looms over Betsy and growls….

Characters Involved: 

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


Cluster, Dark Fantomex, Fantomex



Demon Bear (unidentified)

Ghost Owl


Passengers and crew

In Psylocke‘s flashback images:

Betsy Braddock as a teen

In Spiral’s flashback images:




In Storm’s memory:

Ororo as a child

Story Notes: 

Inker Danny Miki is credited on the cover to the issue, but not during the credits on the recap page.
"Sweet Virginia" is the sixth track on the Rolling Stones' 1972 double album Exile On Main St.
Storm’s question whether Bishop would kill a little girl seems naïve as he tried to kill Hope Summers throughout her childhood.
Betsy is mistakenly shown with dark hair as a teenager, when actually she was a blonde. Also she didn’t start her modeling career or discover her psychic powers until years later in life when she was already an adult.

Issue Information: 
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