X-Force (1st series) #121

Issue Date: 
December 2001
Story Title: 
Lacuna - part 1 : Captain Coconut

Peter Milligan (writer), Mike Allred (artist), Laura Allred (colorist), Mike Allred & Blambot (letters), John Miesegaes (assistant editor), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Queseda (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

The three senior members discuss the possible new members, the Anarchist votes against a black mutant called Spike, so he is rejected. At the same time team owner Freeman tells Phat and Vivisector that they need to cause some conflicts, so that they get more media coverage, and soon they start to provoke fights with the Anarchist. All over the estate there are strange incidents, mostly the word Lacuna is painted on the walls. Nobody notices the blond woman responsible for it. During a press conference, Spike claims that he was rejected for racists reasons and challenges the Anarchist, who backs down from the fight. Edie later sees him washing his hands fifteen times, apparently Tike has some psychological problems. As Freeman wants Spike on X-Force, the team alter discusses their options and fight amongst themselves. In the middle of all this trouble, Lacuna arrives. She apologizes, she only tried to get the team’s attention as she wants to join. As the team turns her down, she threatens to commit suicide.

Full Summary: 

Orphan, U-Go Girl and the Anarchist are viewing a tape of a mutant called Spike. He is one of many in the pool of possible recruits and has the ability to create spikes on his arms and eject them. Edie is impressed, though more by his looks than his power, Tike is more concerned with the taste of his popcorn, before he states that he doesn’t consider Spike X-Force material, as he is nothing more than a spear-chucker. Guy thinks he should not make racist comments, but Tike says that a black person can’t make racist comments about other black people. Since the Anarchist is against him, the Spike is not chosen. Edie then says that she has to hurry, as she has a meeting with a TV station. During the whole scene she kept changing hats without explanation, Guy recognizes it only after a few changes, but then it’s kind of forgotten again.
Aboard his yacht, team owner Spike Freeman talks to Vivisector and Phat. He asks how they can accept to be left out of the decision, granted they can veto on any new inclusion, but how can that be enough. Miles and Billy Bob had actually not thought much about it, but as Freeman goes on to tell them that the press considers X-Force as the Orphan, the Anarchist, U-Go Girl and the other two guys, they are somewhat annoyed. Freeman says that it’s all about marketing, the others are covered by the press, as they all play their respective roles : the sensitive boy next door, the ambitious sex kitten and the angry black man. He suggests that Vivsector and Phat provoke some conflict within the team, so that the media will notice them more.
Tike and Guy, wearing a special protective suit, are spending some time in the swimming pool with some girld being in there as well. Yet the two guys sit somewhat apart and talk. Guy is copncerned about the possible effect that a relationship with Edie might have on the team. After wondering if he is putting on weight, the Anarchist warns Guy of Edie. He thinks that she only is intrested in him to become team leader through the back door, comparable to Hillary and Bill Clinton. Guy in turn accuses Tike, that he is intrested in Edie himself, and therefore tries to spoil their relationship. Suddenly the girls start to scream, the entire pool is full of fish and other ocean life. Obviously someone is making fun of them. On a nearby wall somebody has painted the word “Lacuna“.
Later, Vivisector, Phat and the Anarchist are in a library, filmed by Doop. Again there is a painted “Lacuna“ on a board. Myles has found the word in a dictionary. Derived of the latin word for lake, it refers to a hiatus, a missing portion, or in psychological sense a missing past of someone’s life. As Tike sums it up with “a blank spot“, Phat suddenly starts a fight, accusing the Anarchist of having called Vivisector a blank spot. The fight ends when Tike uses some of his acid on Phat’s arm. Elsewhere Freeman watches Doop’s live transmission and is happy to see that his manipulations already bear fruit.
Guy and Edie are watching a video tape of Edie describing super-hero life, though actually it’s nothing more than a big commercial full of product placement. Guy says that it’s trash, but she replies that it’s a pilot show and might become an ongoing TV series, of course she is doing it for the money. To celebrate, Edie wants to teleport to a beach in Mexico, but the Orphan wants to discuss their relationship, or actually stop it before it further deepens. Edie laughs at him, she only wanted to have some fun and was not taking it serious anyway. Neither one recognizes the blonde female who paints “Lacuna“ on the wall.
The same girl, named Woodstock, is later seen at her parent‘s home. Obviously they are very rich, and the parents are somewhat overprotective. As Woodstock refuses to eat, instead wanting to carry her food to the poor people, the parents think something is wrong with her. They wonder is she does do drugs, is pregnant or even gay. Whatever the problem, they still love her.
X-Force is having another of their press conferences. The Orphan excuses that they haven’t chosen any replacement members yet, and several reporters make suggestion : Venus Dee Milo, Dead Girl. The rejected Spike is among the crowd too, demanding to ask Captain Coconut a question. He prefers to call the Anarchist by this old codename, as it describes him best : black on the outside, white on the inside. Spike then claims that Tike is the token african-american on the team and that he was rejected of racist reasons. Guy tries to calm the situation by telling that it was a democratic decision by all senior members, but the Anarchist gets angry and shouts that he voted Spike out, thinking that he would not cut it. Spike then challenges Tike, saying he is younger, badder and blacker than him.
The situation is broadcasted live, several journalists are already analyzing the combatants motivations, while Woodstock watches the TV at home. She is sure that nobody understands what X-Force really is about.
Back at the conference, the Anarchist suddenly turns around and walks away, with Edie following him. Phat and Vivisector realize that this is the perfect chance to get some media coverage and attack Spike themselves for dissing their teammate. Inside the complex, Edie observes as the Anarchist washes his hands, time and again, exactly fifteen times before he becomes aware of her. He gets angered, and when she pushes him about having a psychological disorder, he lashes out and his acid burns a hole in the outer wall of the building. He then calms down, saying that he should have released that energy on Spike, but Edie denies – vaporizing people is not a good thing while the cameras are watching.
After the conference, Freeman discusses with team leader Orphan in private. He favours the new character for the team and wants him included, despite him allowing X-Force to choose new members themselves. He argues that if Spike is not allowed on the team, it will really look like a racist decision, though Guy states that in their profession they have to trust each other with their lives, regardless color, sex, creed or mutation.
Later the whole team is at the pool. Guy suggests to include Spike for a trial periaod, but the Anarchist is totally against it. Myles and Billy Bob bicker that Tike’s problems with the possible recruit are irrational, and Tike tells Phat to stop being a white boy, talking as if he were black. Phat in turn says that Anarchist wishes to be white and both he and Vivisector laugh at him. Angered Tike uses his acid power on the pool, burning the skins of the two others, and they jump out before they are fully fried. Amidst all this confusion, Lacuna arrives. She introduces herself, apologizing that she did all the crazy stuff to get their attention, as she wants to join the team. Guy and Edie say that it‘s not possible, every recruit has to build a track record and also needs an agent, before even daring to hope to join. Lacuna says that she believes the team is really committed to justice and not their image as the media makes the public believe. They simply have to take her, because if they say no to her, she will throw herself in the still boiling water, and X-Force would be responsible for her death. Edie can’t resist and says : “No.“

Characters Involved: 

Anarchist, Doop, Orphan, Phat, U-Go Girl, Vivisector (all X-Force)

Spike Freeman, X-Force’s owner


Lacuna (Woodstock)

Woodstock’s parents

Story Notes: 

Venus Dee Milo, a character shown in the previews for the X-Force revamp, is first mentioned in this issue.

Issue Information: 
Written By: