Weapon X (3rd series) #26

Issue Date: 
January 2019
Story Title: 
Weapon X-Force, part five

Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente (writers), Luca Pizzari & Roberto Di Salvo (artists), Frank D'armata (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Joe Caramagna (letterer), Rahzzah (cover artist), Jay Bowen & Anthony Gambino (graphic designers), Chris Robinson (editor), Jordan D White (X-Men group editor), C B Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (president), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Sabretooth wakes to find himself in Hell, where a Morlock he once killed called Many-Face is some sort of auditor, keeping track of all the ill deeds he has committed over the years. Sabretooth is in immense pain but does his best to try and explain to Many-Face that he has changed – but she knows about his inversion and tells him that it doesn't count towards much of the debt his sins cost him. Sabretooth pleads for something to ease his pain, but she offers him nothing. Someone else appears to be in pain, and Sabretooth makes his way through the hospital that exists as his hell, and finds the room where a man has been screaming – that man is his son, Graydon Creed. Graydon reminds his father that when he and Mystique, his mother, found out he wasn't a mutant they abandoned him, and urges him to use the pillow he picked up to suffocate him and end his life. Deadpool also finds himself in Hell, having to perform stand-up comedy to an unimpressed audience. He isn't very good at it and the audience, including Domino, who realizes that this is her Hell, heckle and fall silent. Deadpool can't escape, as the Devil himself has nailed Deadpool's feet to the stage. Omega Red suddenly bursts into Deadpool and Domino's Hell after escaping his own. Mystique then finds them and Sabretooth joins them – but Graydon is with him. Sabretooth wants to help his son, while Mystique tells him to leave Graydon where he find him. The Devil appears before the mutants, and he realizes that Azazel sent him them to Hell. Azazel is currently being watched over by Deathstrike and Monet, while the others are here in Hell. The Devil notices that Sabretooth is trying to steal one of his prisoners, Graydon Creed, and Sabretooth is adamant that his son is returning with them. The Devil doesn't plan to stop them, but is curious as to why they went to all this effort to get here. Sabretooth appears not to remember, before Mystique encourages him, and he informs the Devil that they are going after Stryker. Mystique explains that they want to kill him in Hell so he cannot keep returning to the land of the living. The Devil motions to the castle where Stryker wallows in hate – which will eventually give him the strength he needs to return to Earth. Sabretooth vows to end the cycle, to which the Devil points out that Sabretooth is just repeating his own cycle, and tells Weapon X-Force that they are welcome to try and stop Stryker but they better hurry.  Back on Earth, Mentallo is mentally commanding Stryker's follows to walk into the pit of blades, sacrificing themselves so that enough blood will be spilled in tribute so Stryker can return and burn this world with his vengeance!

Full Summary: 

The sounds of a life-support monitor fill Victor Creed a.k.a. Sabretooth's head as he slowly wakes. 'You going to Jhanteigh's thing on Saturday?' he hears a nurse ask another nurse, who replies 'I'm on the fence. I mean, I love her, but her boyfriend -'. Sabretooth coughs up some blood, his guts feel twisted into knots, and every breath hurts. He keeps pressing a call button to get a nurse's attention, but no one comes. 'Ugh, I know. I have no idea why she hasn't dumped his dumb ass yet' one of the nurses remarks, to which the other tells her that she is worried that if she has to sit there and talk to him she is going to drink herself into a coma. 'Hello, ladies? Over here?' Creed croaks, trying to get their attention. He looks at a wristband which says “Creep” and mutters that they can't even get his name right.

Suddenly, someone screams 'THE BURNING, THE BURNING, IT BURNS!' they cry out over and over. Creed is unable to sleep – but unable to keep his eyes open, either. There is more screaming 'ON FIRE MY WHOLE BODY IS ON FIRE -' someone calls out. Creed wonders if this guy ever lets up, before realizing that he is in Hell. This place is Hell. The curtain surrounding his bed and equipment suddenly opens and a woman appears. 'Hi, Mr Creep. My name is Ms Duverne. I'm here to discuss your situation' she announces. Creed touches the stitches on his neck, 'Uh, hey, Doc...' he replies, as Ms Duverne tells him that it may not seem like it right now, but for someone who has suffered as serious an injury as he has, he is really hanging in there. Ms Duverne sits on a chair next to Creed's bed and looks at a chart, informing him that unfortunately, that trauma has severely compromised his immune system.

Ms Duverne continues, informing Creed that he has a “who's who” of nasty opportunistic infections. 'Immune...but that's crazy. How is that possible? I have a healing factor' Creed grins, adding that he has never been sick in his life, before coughing up some more blood. 'Well. You've answered your own question right there, haven't you?' Ms Duverne replies, before Creed tells her that his throat, his guts and his head feel like they are on fire, and asks her if she can give him something for the pain. 'Oh, I'm not a doctor. I'm from accounting' Ms Duverne smirks. 'I'm here about your bill' she adds, holding up the thick chart. 'My...what? Do you -' Creed begins, before the person on fire screams again. 'Hey, buddy, how about suffering in silence for once? Some of us need our beauty rest' Creed shouts, before he starts to cough up more blood again.

'So, unfortunately Mr Creep, it appears you don't have any insurance. And you've racked up quite a number of charges' Ms Duverne points out, looking over Creed's chart again. 'Like what? You've itemized every little thing?' Creed enquires. 'Yes. Everything' Ms Duverne smirks. 'Every little thing you've done' she adds, sternly. Suddenly, Creed looks worried, and asks Ms Duverne if he knows her. 'Wait. Wait. Yeah, you were -' Creed begins, before his mind wanders back, seeing this woman some time ago, cowering in the tunnels. 'Oh no' Creed utters, wide-eyed. 'Yes' Ms Duverne tells him. 'I was one of the Morlocks. You remember? In the sewers beneath New York?' she asks, two extra pairs of lips suddenly appearing on her cheeks, and extra eyes on her forehead, she informs Sabretooth that she was called Many-Face, an okay, mid-level telekinetic. 'But I was no match for you' she reminds Creed.

Many-Face turns to another page of the bill and informs Creed that this page is just of the Morlocks he killed while working for Sinister. Creed is still confused, and asks Many-Face how she can be here. 'Well. I was a match for those frat boys who disrespected me. After what I did to them...' Many-Face smiles, before informing Creed that she was like him when she woke up here: “Whatever did I do to deserve this?” she mocks. Creed frowns and tells Many-Face that he doesn't deserve this, and that he got inverted, so he is kinda like a hero now. 'Hmmmm. Interesting. “Inverted” you say? Let me take a look here...' Many-Face responds, flipping through the many pages of the chart, she comes to a page and points to several little lines at the bottom of the page, informing Creed that these are the credits he has earned for his “inversion” period. Creed looks annoyed and tells her that it isn't fair and that he doesn't belong here.

'What do you mean? This facility offers generous financial assistance' Many-Face replies, explaining that it is designed to pay everything off in instalments. She then pokes her finger into a wound on Creed's arm, causing him to scream. 'Over a very long period of time' Many-Face smiles before she gets up and starts to leave. Creed calls out to her, telling her that he needs something for the pain. He repeatedly presses the call button again for a nurse, but no one comes. 'You know that's not hooked up to anything, right?' Many-Face asks. Creed looks at the cable connected to the call button and sees that it has been severed. He sighs, 'Figures'.

Creed looks at the clock which is on 3:00. He thinks that this is not fair, he is one of the good guys – now, at least – and there are way worse types who deserve to be here instead of him. He decides that once he gets his strength back he is going to get out of here and make them all pay – starting with that smirking Many-Face. He is glad he killed her – what a jerk she turned out to be. Creed tells himself that as soon as he doesn't feel like yesterdays dried dog puke, he is gonna get right up and kick ass, Sabretooth style. A strange woman looks in on him – her face is blank except for one red eye in the center of her face. She stares at Creed, who then closes his eyes, 'Yeah, once I get some sleep... gotta get my rest...'.

A piercing scream wakes Sabretooth – 'You gotta be kidding me' he thinks to himself, deciding that he has had just about enough, he struggles to sit up in bed, and wearing just the green hospital gown, lumbers down the corridor, with each step, he feels like the screaming man sounds. 'NO NO NO ENOUGH MAKE IT STOP' he hears the agonized man plead. Creed has known pain – gobs of it – but this, this malaise, this black cloud – he has never felt that before. He holds himself up against the wall, he needs to catch his breath, unscramble his thoughts and figure a way out of here – and if it means shutting this guy up, put a sock in his mouth or something, if it takes more than that – well, what are they going to do? He grabs a pillow from a nearby trolley, while the man screaming behind a curtain calls out 'The fire the fire...'. 'Damn me?' Creed wonders, before pulling the curtain back and informing the “patient” that he has some noise complaints. 'So you gonna be reasonable... or do I have to... to...' Creed's voice trails off as he sees the screaming man. He goes wide-eyed and falls silent. Chained to the bed before him is... Graydon Creed – his son!

'Ohhhh, father! You're here! You're here! Make it stop! Make it stop!' Graydon pleads. Sabretooth puts a hand on his son's shoulder and asks him what is wrong with him, and tells him that he looks great. 'No, no! Lies!' Graydon exclaims. 'They tell me there's nothing wrong with me, but I know they're wrong! This place is packed with liars!' Graydon declares, before reminding Sabretooth that he and Mystique abandoned him when they found out he wasn't a mutant. 'I exist because of you!' Graydon points out. Graydon asks his father why they did that, and tells him that this consciousness, this self, is burning up inside him. Graydon notices the pillow in Sabretooth's hand and tells him to use it, to help him end it. Sabretooth holds the pillow up, he looks at it and wonders 'This. This is where I belong'.

Elsewhere: 'Guys? Hello?' a voice calls out, before light is plunged onto Deadpool. 'Ow! Hey. What's the big -' Deadpool begins as a voice exclaims 'And next up, it's Wade Winston'. 'Wilson' Deadpool mutters as he stands on a stage, 'Let's give him a big hand, folks. He's gonna need it' the announcer remarks, as Deadpool looks out from the stage to a packed audience. 'Whoa. Okay. Uh...okay, right. So funny thing happened to me on the way to the club...' Deadpool begins. 'You suck!' someone calls out. 'I'd have a great response to that, but they cancelled the MAX line a few years back' Deadpool replies. 'Ugh' someone in the audience complains. Deadpool explains himself, informing the audience that the “MAX line” is a comics reference to a mature readers imprint. 'See? Very meta, very funny'. 'This is embarrassing. Let's get out of here' someone in the audience tells their companions. 'Check, please!' someone calls out.

'Okay, okay. Inside joke, fine, I get it' Deadpool replies, claiming that he has other material. He begins by asking the audience what is the deal with cereal – you know, grown people eating it for dinner. 'It's weird, right' he remarks. The audience responds with silence. 'Tough crowd' Deadpool remarks, sweating under his mask, he rubs the back of his head, he jokes that he would say he is dying, but he is already dead, right. 'Hello?' Deadpool calls out, but gets no response. 'Hello?' he asks the audience, but still no response. 'This thing on?' Deadpool wonders, tapping the microphone. He falls silent, then looks out the audience and tells them that these are jokes. He still gets no response, so tells the audience that it has been real, and starts to leave – but to his shock, discovers his feet have been nailed to the stage in a very bloody manner. 'Oh my God...' Deadpool utters, turning to the stage to see a horned red-skinned man leaning against a wall and telling him that he isn't going nowhere. 'You think you're so funny? Make with the jokes'.

'That's all my material, pal. I've just got ten minutes, pal' Deadpool replies. 'No. You got eternity' the horned man smiles. Deadpool claims that he is really more of an improviser, which is totally different to stand-up, as you work as a team and build off of each other. 'Nah... you're the stand-up guy on the improv team' a voice calls out from the crowd – it's Domino, who holds a drink and declares that Deadpool is the guy who ruins what everyone else is building up with his stupid one liners. 'You get the laughs. But you don't contribute' she snaps. 'Dom? Is that you? What are you doing here? This is – this is my hell!' Deadpool exclaims. Sipping her drink, Domini points out that apparently her hell is listening to his jokes.

Suddenly, Omega Red bursts into the room, 'Go away stupid devil nightmares!' Omega Red exclaims as he extends a carbonadium coil around Domino and lifts her out of the audience, pulling her onto the stage. 'Oh my God, thank you!' Domino tells him, as Deadpool mutters 'Come on, it wasn't that bad'. Omega Red declares that his hell was puppies and rainbows – disgusting, then the magicks of Azazel brought him to his senses. The trio rush towards Mystique who tells them that they just need to find Sabretooth. They appear on some sort of ledge that extends out above a maze-like series of buildings. Domino asks about Lady Deathstrike and Monet, to which Mystique tells her that they are upstairs keeping Azazel honest. 'Victor! Where are you? Come on, we gotta -' Deadpool calls out, when suddenly, there is another crash of someone bursting through  the “room” and Mystique looks up to see Sabretooth. 'Dang. You look...' Domino remarks as Sabretooth growls. '...fine' Domino tells him, while Sabretooth holds onto Graydon, whom he has brought with him.

Mystique tells Victor to pull himself together and reminds him that they are here to find Stryker. 'And you've got the best nose for -' Mystique begins, while Sabretooth asks her if she doesn't see, and holds Graydon up towards her: 'Look what they've done to our boy!' Creed tells Mystique. 'Ugh. Put him back where you found him' Mystique replies. 'To hell with that! We're taking him back home!' Sabretooth retorts. Mystique tells him that if this is Graydon, he is dead, and that this is where he belongs. 'We've got more important things to do -' Mystique begins, to which Sabretooth interrupts her, remarking that they can't just leave him, but Mystique reminds Creed that Graydon tried to kill them both and asks him what is wrong with him. 'That is it. Hell is what's wrong with him. Getting under skin. Making feel guilty. Boy's probably just shade. Trick to keep us off feet long enough for -' Omega Red begins, before there is a blaze of enrgy and the red-skinned, horned being appears, with wings this time, hovering over the others.

'Oh my God!' Mystique calls out. 'Quite the opposite. Now let's see...you still stink of the living...and of the demon Azazel. He's helping you, isn't he?' the mysterious being remarks, aware that Azazel is being watched over by Lady Deathstrike and Monet St Croix, he discovers that Azazel killed the others – decapitating Sabretooth, and somehow killing Mystique, Domino, Deadpool and Omega Red, and set their souls free to wing their way into his realm, somehow using his teleportation powers to freeze their bodies in time and space so at any moment he can allow their healing factors to resume, and bring them back to life.

'That's how this all works? That's a relief' Deadpool declares, adding that he thought they were officially dead. 'I didn't really think that. I mean, that would be ridiculous. You don't kill me in a book I'm just guest starring in' Deadpool whispers to Domino. 'Dude, shut up' Domino snaps. The horned man then identifies himself as the Devil himself, Marduk Kurios and asks them if they are trying to cheat him. 'You set the rules. It's not cheating if we find loopholes' Mystique retorts. 'Perhaps. But  your hairy leader appears to be trying to steal one of my prisoners' the Devil points out, motioning to Sabretooth, who is still holding up his son. 'Back off! The boy's coming with us!' Sabretooth snarls at the Devil. The Devil tells Creed to put away his claws, and announces that he isn't going to stop them, explaining that all he ever really does is let people walk through the doors they have already opened. 'But I'm curious... why go to all this effort? Surely not just for Graydon Creed...' the Devil asks.

Sabretooth falls silent and looks at Mystique. 'Come on. You remember' she tells him, before Sabretooth looks back at the Devil and reveals that they are looking for the soul of William Stryker. 'Of course. The mutant hater' the Devil replies. Mystique informs him that they killed Stryker back on the sutrface, but he keeps coming back, so they are going to kill him down here. 'Are you now?' the Devil responds, before motioning to a large castle and informing the mutants that he can find Stryker in his castle. 'Wait he – he gets a castle?' Sabretooth asks, adding that he thought if you sold your soul to the Devil you got punished when you died. The Devil assures Sabretooth that Stryker is getting punished. 'Hate is Hell. And William Stryker can't ever let it go. No matter what riches and glory he acquires he can never enjoy it. He just wallows here in all-consuming fury... thinking about the mutants who have offended him... humiliated him... murdered him' the Devil reveals, while in his castle, getting angrier, he throws a bowl of food at the wall, some of it falls through a window.

The Devil notices this and tells the mutants that it is quite tedious and that he can't have a normal conversation with him. 'It's always “and then do you know what the mutants did”?' The Devil explains that then, soon enough, Stryker is called back to Earth and the cycle repeats. 'He tortures himself, really. I barely have to lift a finger'. Sabretooth suggests that they end the cycle, to which the Devil grins and points out that there he goes, repeating his own cycle. 'Huh?' Sabretooth asks. The Devil informs him that he is welcome to try, but that they better hurry, before Stryker finds his way back to Earth and ends the story on his own terms.

And, in Aspen, Colorado, the ruined compound of Stryker's cult, Mentallo grins and holds a fist up as the cult members stand in a line, walking towards the pit with the whirling blades. 'Onwrds, friends, into the maw!' Mentallo calls out, boasting that when they have spilled enough blood in tribute, Lord Stryker will return and burn this world clean in his vengeance!

Characters Involved: 

Domino, Mystique, Omega Red, Sabretooth (all Weapon X-Force)

Rev William Stryker
Graydon Creed

The Devil

Many-Face/Ms Duverne
Hospital staff

in illustrative image:
Lady Deathstrike

Story Notes: 

This issue has the legacy numbering of Weapon X #54.

First appearance of Many-Face.

Sabretooth was inverted during the “AXIS” event.

Graydon Creed was killed in the classic X-Factor (1st series) #130. He was resurrected in X-Force (3rd series) #3 and killed again in X-Force (3rd series) #28, part of the “Second Coming” crossover.

Deadpool refers to the MAX line which allowed for more “adult content” in Marvel comics under that imprint.

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