X-Factor (1st series) #85

Issue Date: 
December 1992
Story Title: 
X-Cutioner’s Song part 6: Snikts and Bones

Peter David (writer), Jae Lee (penciler), Al Milgrom (inker), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Richard Starkings (letterer), Kelly Corvese (editor), Bob Harras (X-editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

At Department K, Wolverine and Bishop battle Cable. Eventually Wolverine ends the battle against Cable, as he admits that he doesn’t believe Cable shot Xavier, and they agree to team up to get this mess sorted out. In Arkansas, Havok, Storm, Cannonball, Polaris, Iceman, Archangel, Rogue, Gambit, Boom-Boom, Psylocke and Quicksilver have tracked the Mutant Liberation Front to a small town - they are confronted by strange townsfolk, before locating a hatch to an underground base. Apocalypse arrives at Cable’s safe-house, and puts more pieces of the puzzle together. The battle against the Mutant Liberation Front begins, with Cannonball and Dragoness picking things up from when they last battled. Quicksilver struggles against Tempo, who is taken down by Psylocke. Cyclops finds himself battling children - apparently - while Stryfe is as cryptic as ever. Archangel struggles against Forearm - and accidentally decapitates Kamikaze, freaking out Boom-Boom. Gambit is taken down by Wildside, before Reaper slashes Quicksilver’s leg - and is about to cut his head off with his scythe. Meanwhile, at the hospital where Taylor has been recuperating, the X-Patriots render Multiple Man unconscious, and make their escape.

Full Summary: 

Canada, inside the records department of the mysterious Department K, where a chaotic information gathering expedition by Wolverine a.k.a. Logan and Bishop, as part of their endeavors to track down Charles Xavier’s suspected assailant, Cable, has just experienced a new twist. Bishop and Wolverine stand their ground as Cable a.k.a. Nathan Summers, bursts his way into the records room. ‘This is certainly a situation that’s rife with possibilities. I don’t imagine that one of those possibilities is that you give me five minutes alone in this file room, and then permit me to go on my way unmolested…perhaps?’ Cable asks.

‘MURDERER!’ shouts Bishop, firing his large weapon, but he misses, as Cable ducks the blast. ‘I’ll take that as a “no”!’ Cable remarks, throwing a large filing cabinet at the X-Men - it hits Bishop and knocks him back. ‘You ain’t gonna take me down by tossing a file cabinet’ Wolverine exclaims, leaping at Cable. ‘It was worth a try, Logan’ Cable remarks, before Wolverine forces him to the ground. ‘No more messing around, Cable! I want answers!’ Wolverine demands. Logan holds his razor-sharp claws over Cable’s face and points out that he only needs Cable’s mouth to get answers. ‘So the number of limbs you’ll keep while you give me those answers…is strictly up to you!’

Meanwhile, in Dust Bowl, Arkansas, Ororo “Storm” Munroe, Alex “Havok” Summers and Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie - the leaders of the X-Men, X-Factor and X-Force, respectively, stand before a small gathering of people who seem to be locals. ‘Excuse me? Excuse me? Thanks, appreciate it’ Cannonball calls out in an attempt to get the locals attention. Storm quietly tells Havok that she does not like this open approach. Alex tells Storm that being overt throws off people who are expecting covert. ‘Just trust me on this’.

Cannonball introduces himself to the locals, explaining that he and his companions are here representing three mutant groups. He announces that their referencing, based on past battles, combined with government data, indicates that the Mutant Liberation Front has their main hangout based here. ‘Further, we have reason to believe that the MLF and their leader, Stryfe, attempted to blow away Charles Xavier. ‘So I’d like to know if ya’ll have seen the MLF anywhere around?’ Cannonball declares. At that moment, the locals all reveal weapons. ‘ALLLLEXXX!’ Storm exclaims. ‘How about that? After nine possible towns, we finally got a nibble’ Alex remarks, before informing the locals that they are all under arrest.

‘Oh yeah, you and what army?’ one of them asks, only for his gun to be magnetically pulled away from him - by Lorna “Polaris” Dane, who is in the air above with her friends Warren “Archangel” Worthington and Bobby “Iceman” Drake of the X-Men. ‘Nice magnetic snag, Polaris. We hit pay dirt, all right!’ Warren remarks, before asking Polaris and Iceman if they are ready. ‘Ready when you are, Warren’ Lorna replies as she collects more guns with her magnetic power. Iceman stays in the air thanks to his ice sled, while firing shards of ice down below. ‘Please, Polaris. Not “Warren” in a fight…I prefer Archangel!’ Warren exclaims, as he releases a barrage of razor-sharp “feathers” to the “locals” below, cutting their weapons into pieces. ‘Fall back!’ one of them orders.

‘Fall back? Which way?’ another of them asks. ‘They’re coming outta the wood work!’. Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock, Rogue and Remy “Gambit” LeBeau attack from one direction, while Tabitha “Boom-Boom” Smith and Pietro “Quicksilver” Maximoff join the battle at another direction. ‘There’s nowhere to go!’ one of the locals exclaims. ‘They know all of us on sight!’ Alex exclaims, adding that they don’t need much more proof than that that they have found the MLF stronghold. ‘But these are “grunts” Havok. We need to unearth the main players’ Storm points out as she takes to the air. Havok remarks that he thinks “unearth” might be right on the money, and blasts the ground with a powerful plasma charge. ‘Bingo!’ Alex exclaims when he finds a metal hatch, telling his teammates that the whole town is a duck blind, covering the real action underground. ‘Let’s get down, people!’

Meanwhile, at one of Cable’s safe houses in Switzerland. Then again, with one such as Apocalypse involved…what house is truly safe? The uber-mutant enters the chalet, and examines the various weapons on the walls. ‘This technology…which pervades every corner of Cable’s little hidey-hole…derived from me! From my technology at work!’ Apocalypse exclaims. ‘It’s unmistakable! But from where would Cable have garnered such knowledge?’ Apocalypse wonders. He remarks that the only people who could possibly be familiar enough with the workings of his former Ship are the members of X-Factor - Cyclops and his ilk - and none of them would co-operate with Cable.

Apocalypse wonders if one of them could actually be Cable, before telling himself that is ridiculous. ‘How could a member of X-Factor be Cable? For that matter, why would he choose to…of course. What if…there was no choice?’ Apocalypse remarks, frowning terribly.

Back at Department K, Cable has freed himself from Wolverine’s grip, and fires his weapon at him. ‘Nice try, Cable. Bottom line is…you move to slow!’ Logan exclaims as he slices a piece off the weapon. ‘And you talk too much!’ Cable exclaims, punching Wolverine in the face. ‘So I’ll move faster…you’ll talk less…then we’ll all be happy!’ Cable exclaims as he slams Wolverine into a wall, before taking off. Bishop has gathered himself and calls out to Wolverine, asking him if he is injured. ‘Nothing that nailing that joker wouldn’t cure’ Logan replies. ‘I would not wish to insult you by attacking him, if you wish to handle him alone’ Bishop announces.

‘Of all the ways you could insult me, lending a hand ain’t one of ‘em!’ Logan exclaims as they follow Cable, who smashes his way into another room - ‘Beautiful, the armory. A cornucopia of mayhem!’ Cable exclaims, reaching for a weapon, Bishop appears behind him, telling him that there is nowhere for him to go. ‘Why should I go anywhere, kid? I like it here!’ Cable replies, blasting the weapon out of Bishop’s hand. ‘I am not “kid”, I am Bishop! And if you knew anything of me, then you would know that shooting me with an energy weapon…is the last thing you would want to do!’ Bishop exclaims as he uses the energy he absorbed, releasing it at Cable, knocking back through another wall. ‘Point…taken’ Cable mumbles.

Meanwhile, underneath Dust Bowl, Arkansas, the MLF foot soldiers stand near the deadly Dragoness. ‘We have them on motion sensors’ one of the soldiers announces. ‘Of course they are, you idiots. Don’t stand around waiting to be slaughtered! Attack! ATTACK!’ Dragoness shrieks. ‘Exactly what we had in mind!’ Iceman exclaims as he begins to cover the MLF soldiers in a thick coating of ice. Sam tells Bobby to leave Dragoness to him, as he has an old score to settle. ‘Oh, okay. The “Terry and the Pirates” reject is all yours. But only because you asked so nicely’ Bobby replies, telling Sam to hurry back. ‘You know how I worry’ he jokes, while Cannonball blasts his way towards Dragoness.

Dragoness hovers in the air, telling Cannonball that it does not have to be like this. ‘Oh yeah, lady. It surely does’ Sam tells her. Despite her large and bulky wings, Dragoness dodges Sam’s first attack, and tells Cannonball that he knows how attractive she finds him. ‘I can do things for you’ she tells him. ‘Right now you could just give up…and save my some hassle!’ Cannonball exclaims as he attacks Dragoness from behind, slamming into her. But Dragoness spins around: ‘Bad move, Cannonball. You got close enough for me to slow you down…that makes you vulnerable to my stingers!’ Dragoness exclaims as she blasts Cannonball at close range.

‘Sorry, boy. it could have been fun for the two of us’ Dragoness tells Sam as he falls to the ground. ‘But think of the greater fun awaiting the three of us’ Storm exclaims as she, Rogue and Polaris appear near Dragoness. ‘Cannonball’s problem is that no matter how much he tries, he still gets all gooshy when it comes ta fighting “women-folk”!’ Rogue adds. ‘Oddly enough, we don’t have that dilemma’ Polaris remarks. ‘Whoa…gonna take a few minutes…t’shake that off…’ Sam remarks as he gets up, and leans against a wall - only for the downed Dragoness to land at his feet.

Nearby, ‘Ohhh…nooootttt aaagggaaaiiinnn…’ Quicksilver exclaims as he moves - incredibly slowly - towards Tempo, who tells some foot soldiers that it is taking everything she has got to slow Quicksilver down to ten miles per hour. ‘Quick! Take him!’ she exclaims. ‘We got him, Tempo!’ one of the soldiers remarks, but before they can fire their weapons: ‘Non, you do not. Because it’s not in the cards’ Gambit exclaims as he strikes the soldiers with kinetically charged playing cards. ‘Or in the psi-blade’ Psylocke adds as she shoves a psychic knife into Tempo’s head, causing her to scream. Pietro frowns at Betsy and Gambit. ‘No need for the “thank yous”, Quicksilver’ Gambit remarks. ‘That’s correct, Gambit. No need, because I could have handled them without you and Psylocke’s help’ Pietro boasts. ‘If getting killed fits your definition of handling them, then I’d have to agree’ Betsy smirks.

Elsewhere, Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops is surrounded by darkness. ‘All right! come on! Take your shot!’ he exclaims. ‘You think leaving me in darkness for hours is going to bother me? Or even slow me down?’ he calls out, while several figures move about him. ‘I hear you, scuttling around, like the rats you are! Come on, then! I’m ready! More than ready!’ Cyclops booms, as he unleashes a powerful optic beam. ‘I’ll take you all down. Even if I have to level this place. I’m not afraid of you! Jean’s not afraid of you! The only ones stinking of fear in here are you! YOU!’ Cyclops shouts, but suddenly, he realizes that those he has attacked with his optic blasts are children.

‘Children were attacking me? But wh-?’ he remarks, before realizing that Jean Grey is at his feet. ‘Jean? Dear…Lord. I…U hurt Jean…maybe even ki…’ his voice trails off, before he screams ‘JEAN!’ as someone comes up behind him and places a strange device over his head. Cyclops falls to the floor as Stryfe steps into view. ‘You’re a born leader, Cyclops. Someone who always believes he knows just what to do. But sometimes you’re operating completely in the dark. And sometimes, as you do these things, you wind up injuring the ones you love’. Stryfe frowns as he asks the fallen Cyclops ‘Does that matter to you at all? No…no, somehow, I doubt that it does’.

Meanwhile, back underneath Dust Bowl, Forearm wraps his arms around Archangel, telling him that he has been waiting a long time to pluck his wings. Warren replies that in his younger days, in one of his rare moods of depression, he used to wonder if there was any mutant power more stupid than that of just having wings and flapping around. ‘Today, I finally get the answer to that question’ Warren’s wings flick backwards, cutting Forearm. ‘You cut me!’ Forearm exclaims, before grabbing Warren by his throat. ‘Actually, I let you off easy -’ Warren begins, before Forearm throws him across the room, telling him that he is not letting him off.

‘Try to stop me by tossing me. Idiot’ Archangel remarks as he extends his wings, unaware that the MLF member Kamikaze is flying up to him from behind. ‘No, idiot. He maneuvered you so that I could take you unawares’ Kamikaze thinks to himself, admitting that he despises sneak attacks, but that he will take his victories any way he can. Suddenly, a look of horror spreads across Kamikaze’s face, as Archangel’s wings move upwards and backwards as he tells Forearm to stop dodging around, as he is just dragging this out.

And with that, Kamikaze is decapitated. Blood sprays across the room, as Kamikaze’s head falls to the floor and bounces across the room - towards Boom-Boom, who exclaims to some MLF foot soldiers ‘Hey, fellas! I’m having a really good day! How about you? Sure glad Sam managed to talk them into springing me for this little caper’ as she throws a time-bomb at them. Tabby remarks that she can’t wait to meet the head of this organization, when she feels something against her leg. ‘Huh?’ she remarks, looking downwards. ‘OOHHH BARF!’ Tabitha screams as she sees Kamikaze’s head.

‘It touched me! Oh yuck! Who cut off Kamikaze’s head’ Boom-Boom calls out. Warren notices the blood on his wings, and exclaims ‘Dear God! He must have come up behind me, and got in the way of my wings while I was turning…’. Boom-Boom tells Archangel that with a name like Kamikaze you just know he is gonna buy it. Warren tells her that this is hardly a moment for levity, and takes flight, as Tabitha tells him that she was trying to make him feel better. ‘Well, don’t!’ Warren snaps back, while Tabitha sees Kamikaze’s head once more, and exclaims ‘Oohh BARF!’

Back in Canada, Cable’s computer companion, Professor, tells him that as capable as he is at violence, there may be a more efficient way of dealing with the current situation than controlled mayhem. ‘Good point’ Cable remarks as Wolverine lunges at him - he grabs Wolverine’s wrist, ‘Listen…I didn’t do it!’ Cable tells him. With Wolverine’s claws close to his face Cable declares that he did not shoot Xavier. Suddenly, Bishop grabs Cable from behind: ‘We saw you, murderer!’ he exclaims, telling Cable that he does not want his lies, he wants his confession. ‘And then I want your head!’. Cable flips Bishop over his body, ‘I’m afraid you’re going to come up empty on both counts’ Cable tells him.

‘Now you’re saying it was a frame-up? Is that what you want us to believe?’ Wolverine asks as Bishop slams into a wall. ‘That would be nice, yes. I’ve always been a big supporter of the truth’ Cable replies. ‘But if you don’t believe me…then go ahead. Strike’ he tells Wolverine as he stands against a wall. Cable tells Wolverine that if he is that sure of himself then to stop him once and for all. ‘Might be your only chance. Just keep in mind that if I’m telling the truth, then someone’s playing you for a fool’. Cable tells Wolverine that it is his call as to whether the name fits. Wolverine moves towards Cable - bares his teeth - then shoves his fist - claws outstretched - into Cable.

‘Retracted your claws. Why? Because you wanted to see if I flinched?’ Cable remarks, collapsed on the floor. ‘No. I didn’t need ‘em’ Logan replies. ‘Wait a minute, your own eyes told you what he did!’ Bishop exclaims. ‘Are you telling me you believe him when he asks you to ignore what you yourself have seen?’. Wolverine replies that he cannot be one hundred percent sure Cable is lying. ‘But I have to be one hundred percent for sure because if I kill him, then he’s one hundred percent dead’. Wolverine declares that he has to give Cable the benefit of the doubt, for now.

‘Oh, do you? Well, I do not!’ Bishop booms as he raises his weapon to Cable’s face. ‘You should really switch to Decaff’ Cable remarks. ‘Listen to the man. It couldn’t hurt’ Wolverine agrees as he slices Bishop’s weapon. ‘Now, once you’ve clamed down, Bishop…go take another gun off the rack and let’s get this sorted out’ Wolverine declares.

Meanwhile, at the hospital where the X-Patriot called Taylor is recovering from his brutal beating. James Madrox a.k.a. the Multiple Man is gazing out a window at the moon, when the X-Patriot known as Prodigal approaches him, asking Madrox if he will answer a question. ‘Sure, Prodigal. If I can’ James replies. Prodigal asks Madrox why he is not off with his friends investigating the attempt on the life of Xavier. ‘I am’ Madrox replies. ‘Ah, I see. And you’re here as well. How very convenient. But then why are you here?’ Prodigal asks.

James explains that he is still here in case someone tries to attack Taylor again. ‘I do not thin that’s the reason. You know what I think?’ Prodigal replies. ‘I think it’s because you’ve been assigned to watch over us and make certain we don’t try to escape. What do you think of that?’ Prodigal asks. ‘Well, to be hones, I don’t -’ James begins, before the X-Patriot called Lukas comes up behind him and places a cloth over Jamie’s face, rendering him unconscious. ‘They really should keep their chloroform locked up better than that. No telling whose hands it might fall into’ Lukas remarks, before asking Prodigal ‘Now what?’. ‘Now, Lukas, we check out’ Prodigal declares.

Back below Dust Bowl, ‘I’m gonna gut you from crotch to sternum, Gambit!’ Wildside exclaims as he lunges towards Gambit. ‘And I have a “gut” feeling that it will not be so. For actions speak louder than words. And my actions…they positively scream!’ Gambit exclaims as he throws several kinetically charged playing cards at the psychotic Wildside. ‘Hah! Missed!’ Wildside screams. ‘That won’t be the only screaming going on around here, Cajun!’ Wildside exclaims as he slams Gambit into the ground. ‘Ah well…I’ll have to live with you sleeping through your disembowelment’ Wildside remarks.

‘Too bad you won’t live with -’ Wildside begins, before Quicksilver speeds up behind him and punches him in the back of the head. ‘If your type talked less and did more, you’d have been ruling the world years ago!’ Pietro remarks, before deciding that he should be grateful, after all, as it gave him the chance to even the score with Gambit and avoid his smirking. Suddenly, Reaper appears behind Quicksilver and slices Pietro’s legs with his scythe. Quicksilver falls to the floor, while Reaper raises his scythe over head. ‘Yeah, it was real nice you helped Gambit. Too bad nobody’s around to help you!’ Reaper exclaims as he prepares to bring his scythe down upon Quicksilver….

Characters Involved: 

Havok, Multiple Man, Polaris, Quicksilver (all X-Factor)

Archangel, Bishop, Cyclops, Gambit, Iceman, Jean Grey, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine (all X-Men)

Boom-Boom, Cannonball (both X-Force)




Dragoness, Forearm, Kamikaze, Reaper, Tempo, Wildside (all Mutant Liberation Front)

Lukas, Prodigal (both X-Patriots)


MLF Foot soldiers



Story Notes: 

Part 6 of the X-Cutioner's Song crossover.
This issue follows Uncanny X-Men #295 and continues in X-Men (2nd series) #15.

The “old score” that Cannonball and Dragoness have with each other stems from New Mutants (1st series) #93-94.

The assassination attempt on Xavier took place in Uncanny X-Men #294.

Death of Kamikaze.
Terry and the Pirates was a classic action-adventure comic strip created by cartoonist Milton Caniff.
Apocalypse figures out that Cable is baby Nathan Christopher, the son of Cyclops.

Issue Information: 
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