X-Force (1st series) #126

Issue Date: 
May 2002
Story Title: 
As I Die Lying

Peter Milligan (writer), M.D. Allred (artist), Laura Allred (colors), Doc Allred & Blambot (letters), John Miesegaes (assistant editor), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

As X-Force prepares to launch into space, they are questioned by reporters about the mission. U-Go Girl asks the team's newest member, Dead Girl, if she can contact her ex-teammate and lover, Zeitgeist. This leads to tension between the Orphan and U-Go Girl and it prompts Dead Girl to think back to how she became Dead Girl and how life since has led her to this moment. After the team blasts off into space, Vivisector and Phat admit to having "special feelings" for each other, which leads to more internal strife. After docking with the space station, X-Force meets with the hostages who direct them to where the "aliens" are. After the team splits up, the hostages alter their appearances, revealing themselves as the mutants. Too late does X-Force realize their mistake and are quickly under attack. The Bush Rangers convince the Spike that he must join their side and then blast Dead Girl into pulp. Anarchist manages to escape and arrives in time to save the Orphan from another mutant. However, U-Go Girl has taken a hit and is severely injured. To the remaining team's surprise, Dead Girl reforms herself and rejoins the group. U-Go Girl regains consciousness long enough to suggest a new name for the team, X-Men, before falling back to sleep. She then turns deathly quiet.

Full Summary: 

All suited up in their spacesuits, X-Force makes their final walk to the space shuttle. As they walk, Anarchist and U-Go Girl ask Dead Girl, as she is in touch with "the Other Side", if she can tell them which of the three of them will come back in a body bag. Meanwhile, a reporter asks Orphan if he has any idea what the team's new name will be, or if he has seen the bookies' latest faves. According to her, high rollers in Malaysia are throwing "serious dough" on them being X-Squad. Orphan tells her that they will first save the planet, and then worry about what they will be called.
Anarchist and U-Go Girl continue their conversation with Dead Girl. Anarchist suggests Dead Girl have a word with her buddies and tell them that all three of them are needed alive. In her spectral voice, Dead Girl informs them that the Dark Forces of the other side are not to be tampered with lightly. There are dangerous and terrible repercussions for those who meddle with what they do not know. Taken aback, Anarchist asks her if she can really make contact. Dead Girl retorts that she is called Dead Girl for a reason. In a more serious and somber mood, U-Go Girl tells Dead Girl that there is someone she would like to speak to, or at least make sure he's all right. His name is Zeitgeist... that is Axel... Axel Cluney. Dead Girl responds that contacting the dead isn't like textin' a buddy.
The Orphan, who had overheard Dead Girl and U-Go Girl's conversation, pushes his way past them. Obviously annoyed, Orphan asks if they can stop talking about death and dying and get the mission over with. Lagging a bit behind the rest of the team, U-Go Girl and Anarchist talk about Dead Girl. U-Go Girl asks Anarchist if he's noticed that she always calls them by their full names; Edie Sawyer, Tike Alicar. Another thing, Edie says, whatever the new name is to be they have to vote on it. This way they will know before anyone else, including the bookmakers. When Anarchist asks if that isn't insider trading, U-Go Girl answers that it is, but just not to tell Guy. Anarchist simply says : “ You got it... Edie Sawyer.“

Dead Girl, alone, looks up at the space shuttle and remembers. She remembers coming to New York. Very much alive back then, she wanted to act on stage, not before a camera. After in the city awhile, she went to a small hotel room with a man, another actor. Sitting on the bed with him, she felt his hands grasp her neck. Then everything went black. Her murderer took her body to the graveyard and sealed her inside a mausoleum. Who would look for a missing person there among the dead ? While entombed, she was not alone. The dead, the real dead, took pity on her. For reasons unknown, they whispered into the ears of her murderer. Now wracked with fear that his victim had been discovered and having to be sure, he returned to the mausoleum. Once inside he screamed in fear as he was pulled inside.

X-Force's space shuttle approaches the space station. U-Go Girl impatiently tells the pilots to get closer. She informs the team that space screws up her coordinates in teleporting. Any error and they could end up in a very cold, dark place. In the back of the shuttle the Spike notices Phat and Vivisector holding hands. Without warning, the Spike shoots a spike at Vivisector, tearing his spacesuit. Vivisector transforms into his bestial form and demands an answer from the Spike for his actions. He answers that he's had enough of the two of them simpering at each other like lovesick bee-atches. Orphan steps between the Spike, Vivisector and Phat, trying to prevent a fight. As Phat voices that he is unsure about revealing their secret, Vivisector admits that he and Phat have "special feelings" for each other, even though neither knows what that means. Angrier than ever, the Spike begins to make a disparaging comment, but is silenced with a karate chop from the Orphan.
U-Go Girl, looking out of the window at the station, tells the men to stop playing, as they are ready to port. Recovering from the Orphan's blow, the Spike questions whether Phat and Vivisector are going to be looking out for the team, or their special feelings. Phat retorts that Guy and Edie are an item and no one wonders if that will affect their loyalty. The Spike, not giving an inch, replies that someone should. This comment brings both U-Go Girl and Anarchist into the conversation, both telling the Spike that he should watch what he says. While they argue, Dead Girl asks Orphan how he plans on deliberately losing to the Bush Rangers. Incredulous, Orphan points to the arguing teammates and says that they are probably going to lose anyway.
Through U-Go Girl's teleportation portals, X-Force arrives inside the station. They are greeted by the crew of the station. The crew is overjoyed at both being not forgotten, and by being rescued by X-Force. As the rest of the team basks in the adoration of the crew, the Orphan asks where the "aliens" are. A few moments later the team is scurrying down the hall. Sealed behind the door behind the departing X-Force, the crew smiles and slowly transforms into alien-esque Bush Rangers.
Having split from the rest of the team, Orphan and U-Go Girl walk down a hall. She asks him if the question to Dead Girl about Zeitgeist was what got him in his lousy mood. Defending her actions, Edie tells Guy that she was merely testing her to see if she was a fake. Orphan stops U-Go Girl in her place. Reminding her what she just said about being a fake, he realizes what his senses were telling him earlier. The breathing... the tension around the joints... the so-called hostages.... U-Go Girl understands his meaning. Both turning around and returning from whence they came, Edie points out the problem with mutants: You never know where you are with them.
In another part of the station, a Bush Ranger shoots Anarchist in the back with a wrist blaster. Covering his downed teammate, the Spike returns fire with his spikes. Dead Girl sees to the wounded Anarchist who dryly says that he has some smashed vertebrae. Returning to his feet, Anarchist joins the Spike in an offensive against their assailants. Rather than defend themselves, the three Bush Rangers hold up their hands and claim that they didn't want to hurt them. Anarchist asks what being shot in the back was, a brotherly handshake ? A mutant replies that they did so before they saw who the three were. Another tells them that they didn't want to be turned into mutants, but joined up to avoid a lethal injection. The Anarchist replies that it isn't their problem; they're X-Force. The mutants then turn their attention to the Spike. They say they saw the television show where he called the Anarchist Captain Coconut : Black on the outside, White on the inside. Point blank they ask him : “ How Black are you ? “
Anarchist tells the Spike not to listen to them as they were on death row and were killers. The mutants tell the Spike that they were tried and convicted by a white, racist system. Looking down in anger or shame, the Spike says aloud that they are right. Now seeing where their allies are, the mutants fire their wrist blasters at Anarchist. To everyone's amazement, Dead Girl jumps in front of the blasts and is blown apart. In the confusion that follows, Anarchist manages to run away. The three mutants raise their right hands in respect to the Spike and his decision, to which he returns the favor.
Elsewhere on the station, U-Go Girl tells Orphan that she no longer holds a candle for Zeitgeist, and asks who even uses the old-fashioned expression any more. Orphan says that he does and then pushes U-Go Girl to the floor to avoid her getting his by a mutant blast. As the two dispatch their mutant assailants, U-Go Girl tells Orphan that he can't be jealous of someone who's dead. Orphan replies that Zeitgeist being dead makes the situation worse as one cannot compete with a dead lover. As Orphan breaks the neck of his mutant, U-Go Girl is hit in the back of the head by her foe. Orphan jumps on her foe, laying him low, and then runs to her aid.
Anarchist shows up and asks if U-Go Girl is hurt. Inexplicably, he then points out that she's cute, being limp and vulnerable. Disgusted, Orphan tells Anarchist to watch his back while he checks U-Go Girl over. Anarchist says that he will and then kliks on his wrist gun. Orphan's senses kick in... breathing... tightness around joints... In a fluid full body back-kick, Orphan knocks the Anarchist-Bush Ranger senseless. The mutant is then liquefied by the real Anarchist‘s acid-blast. Anarchist asks Orphan if Edie is okay to which he answers that she has a concussion. Still thinking about Death, Anarchist says that it might be best if she does die, as that would let the two of them off the hook. Angrily, Orphan tells Anarchist that if it were a choice between him and her, he would gladly be the one who died. As Orphan begins to issue a threat, a noise traveling through the station quiets them both. It is the oxygen leaking out of the room.
On the other side of the door, the remains of Dead Girl begin to stir. Rising of their own accord, the bones and flesh reform and coalesce. Dead Girl lives again.
Back in their chamber, Anarchist apologies to Orphan about his comment about Edie. Feeling the somber moment, Orphan admits that he knows how he feels. Before the two can, in Anarchist's words, confide some deeply embarrassing, personal secret, the door opens. To both of the men's surprise, Dead Girl stands before them, completely healed and looking as she always has. With grateful joviality, Anarchist asks her how many time is she going to save his butt ?
Dead Girl collapses in Anarchists arms. She tells him that she doesn't know. She admits that she doesn't know anything. She doesn't know who is going to die. She isn't in touch with spirits, the dead, or the Other Side. She isn't even sure she knows who she was when she was alive. Now, she says, they are all probably going to die and will leave her alone in the darkness. As Anarchist digests this unpleasant thought, U-Go Girl awakens. She exclaims that she has the answer! X-Men! The perfect name for a group of mutants with the X-gene! With this revelation announced, Edie falls back to sleep, and becomes deathly silent.

Characters Involved: 

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

Various Reporters

Shuttle pilots

Bush Rangers
In flashbacks :

Dead Girl, when she was alive

An actor, Dead Girl's killer

Story Notes: 

Zeitgeist is the former leader of X-Force and was Edie's lover on a few occasions. He first appeared and died in X-Force #116.
In Dead Girl's flashback, when she first arrives in New York, the twin towers of the World Trade Center can be clearly seen.
Dead Girl and Doop are the only members not wearing a spacesuit when the team teleports onto the station. Considering the team's fear of U-Go Girl accidentally teleporting them into space, it has to be assumed that both are capable of surviving the vacuum of space.
The press conference where the Spike accused the Anarchist of being a true Captain Coconut, black on the outside, white on the inside, occured in X-Force #121.

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