X-Force (1st series) #21

Issue Date: 
April 1993
Story Title: 
War Machines

Fabian Nicieza (writer); Greg Capullo (pencils); Harry Candelario (inker); Chris Eliopoulos (letterer); Steve Buccellato and Javins (colorists); Bob Harras (group editor); Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

All hell breaks loose on Graymalkin as X-Force battles War Machine, and the remnants of SHIELD. The battle results in massive destruction across the station, and causes the Professor to malfunction. Faced with the station’s eminent destruction, Cannonball begins procedures that will preserve Cable’s technology, including jettisoning major portions of the station to Earth. The team debates whether to abandon the station, but it all seems moot when the entire station suddenly explodes. Back in Camp Verde, Warpath, Siryn and Boomer return to base only to find it all but empty, when they are suddenly ambushed by a shadowed figure and knocked unconscious. Elsewhere, Domino continues her quest to gather the remaining members of the Six Pack, which brings her and Grizzly to Hammer’s home. Vanessa is enjoying her new face, while Deadpool begins his search for her and her connection to the Tolliver Will.

Full Summary: 

On the station of Graymalkin, in orbit high above the Earth, X-Force is confronted by a new threat…War Machine. As War Machine locks in on the individual members of X-Force, he issues an ultimatum for them to surrender or “go down the hard way”. X-Force, however, aren’t willing to go down without a fight, and suddenly the entire battlefield is filled with gunfire and explosions as War Machine opens up in Full Weapons Mode.
Cannonball takes to the air, and attempts to take War Machine from above, but War Machine counteracts by blasting the machinery above Cannonball, knocking it down on top of him. The Professor, who the rest of X-Force continue to call Ship, protests, stating that the station is receiving massive damage from the ensuing fight. Rictor and Sunspot flank War Machine and blast him from opposing sides with their individual powers, which only appears to stagger the former Avenger. War Machine returns fire on X-Force with a barrage of rubber bullet fired from his shoulder mounted machine gun.
Shatterstar takes the brunt of the onslaught, while Feral dives for cover and Lila Cheney decides to split and teleport away. Feral only dives into more trouble however and soon finds herself on the business end of Fury’s blaster rifle. As quick on her feet as she is with her words, Feral manages to back flip out of gun range; however this doesn’t prevent Fury from shooting anyway. The explosion destroys another part of the Professor’s machinery and Feral is caught in the blast.
With smoke filling the chambers, War Machine finds it rather difficult to track his targets, and switches his suit imaging systems to detect infra-red. Suddenly, Shatterstar burst forth from the smoke and smashes War Machine across his face-plate.
Elsewhere, Sunspot lifts the pile of debris from off his teammate, Cannonball and finds him for the most part okay. The battle is suddenly halted when an explosion rocks the entire station, at which point the Professor warns that the combined effects of the electro-magnetic interference from the Stark satellite, combined with the battle damage and unauthorized personnel has resulted in massive systems failures across the station. And without the proper override sequencing, the Professor is unable to take any steps into preserving the station. Cannonball asks if there is anything that they can do, at which point the Professor answers that there is only one person capable of giving the verbal authorization, and that was Cable.

Camp Verde, Arizona:

The three remaining members of X-Force, Warpath, Siryn and Boomer have finally returned home after seeking supplies from town. Upon their arrival in their jeep however, they discover that the entire base has been deserted. Even after Siryn attempts an aerial reconnaissance, no one is detected within the base. Bewildered, the trio make their way down into the base pits, and are suddenly blasted from behind with a massive energy bolt which quickly renders them all unconscious. A shadowed figure then emerges and states how pathetic these mutants are, and how he can’t believe that Gideon actually considers any of them a threat. The being, now revealed to be Saul, gloats over his fallen victims, stating that the External never worry about anything for too long.

South Stickney, Illinois:

Two figures emerge from a vehicle parked outside a suburban home, and knock on the front door. The door is answered by an old woman who suddenly becomes very happy to see her guests, who are revealed to be Domino and Grizzly. The two are let in and Hammer enters the room in his mobile chair, exclaiming how Garrison Kane has showed up six weeks prior. Grizzly informs Hammer that they need his help, at which point Domino points out that it involves Cable. Hammer asks if it involves killing him, but Domino answers no, but it does involve keep his legacy alive.


Explosions outside and throughout the station, send X-Force and SHIELD members alike flying. Bridge, not letting go of his vendetta, grabs Cannonball by the collar, blaming him for the fiasco that they are now caught up in. Cannonball, on the other hand, would rather let Cable’s technology be destroyed than fall into the wrong hands, and focuses his power into Bridge, knocking him to the ground. War Machine, standing above Cannonball, orders him to let Bridge go. Cannonball asks War Machine what he wants Graymalkin for, but Fury counters with the same argument. Cannonball states that he just wants for Cable to have left them something. The argument is brought to a close, however, as the station collapses between them and buries several members of both teams under tons of debris.
War Machine is the first to break free, followed shortly after by various members of X-Force. The Professor warns that they have fifteen minutes to evacuate, at which point Lila Cheney returns from her cross galactic jaunt. Knowing that they could now escape, Rictor is unsure of the rightness of abandoning Fury and his crew.
Meanwhile, in another section of the station, Sunspot and Cannonball continue their efforts to save what they can of Graymalkin. The problem, however, persists that the self-preservation override still needs voice activation. Cannonball insists that there has to be a way to save Graymalkin in some way, at which point the Professor informs them that a secondary voice recognition was programmed into the system. The two surmise that it may be Domino, or another member of the Six Pack, but Cannonball is unsure. Sunspot then suggests that it may be Cannonball. Deciding to give it a try, Cannonball orders the override systems to activate, and much to their surprise he succeeds. With most of the systems already damaged, the Professor informs Cannonball that to reactivate the stations cloaking systems they would have to substantially reduce the station’s load. The Professor then requests that if he can’t access his main programmer’s decisions of such consequence he would do so with the help of his “children”. At that suggestion, both Sunspot and Cannonball are surprised that Cable thought of them in such a way.

Boston, Massachusetts:

In a very well known bar, two women walk in and make their way to the counter, drawing the attention of every male in the place. The bartender recognizes Tina Valentino, and makes an openly obvious pass at the two girls. When he asks what he could get them, Tina states that he had better make it a double. The two girls look exactly identical.

New Delhi:

At a townhouse that was once owned by Tolliver, Deadpool makes his presence known. With the bodies of armed guards scattered across the grounds, Deadpool says that it took him a while to find the safe house that kept Tolliver’s personnel files. At which point he brings his sword to the throat of the lone survivor, a man known as Abahla. Abahla nervously informs Deadpool that all the files are readily available to him, and then hands him the file that he was looking for. Deadpool looks in the file and discovers the location of Vanessa’s last known address before she began to work for Tolliver. Deadpool then threatens to come after both Vanessa and Tina and cut them both down.


With the station shaking, War Machine and the other members of SHIELD wonder what exactly is going on around them. Fury gives the order to evacuate, that none of Cable’s technology is worth dying over. This upsets Bridge, who is still obsessed with getting whatever Cable may have, but Fury exclaims that Cable is dead and the vendetta is over. War Machine points out that Lila Cheney has returned, while on the X-Force side Lila exclaims that they have to make a decision. Rictor is adamant about not leave Fury’s group behind, but Lila is unsure for to take them may require a fight.
Back with Cannonball and Sunspot, the two are making progress in dumping nonessential systems, including the weapons depot, which Cannonball orders to direct the jettisoned pod towards their Camp Verde base. However, it doesn’t appear as if though they making good time, there is too much to dump and not enough time to decide which systems to do so. Cannonball asks what the largest system on the station is and the Professor answers that it is the Temporal Displacement Core. Sam realizes that the core is what is responsible for Cable’s time travels and that if he was still alive the core would be his only means of returning. Making a very hard decision, Cannonball gives the order to dump the TDC into the deepest, furthest part of the Pacific Ocean. However the order appears to come too late, as the Professor warns of an alert. Suddenly, the entire station appears to explode.

Characters Involved: 

Boomer, Cannonball, Feral, , Rictor, Shatterstar, Siryn, Sunspot, Warpath (as X-Force)

Lila Cheney
The Professor

Nick Fury, G.W. Bridge, Alexander Pierce, Network Nina (as SHIELD)

War Machine

Domino, Grizzly, Hammer (as the Six Pack)


Tina Valentino

Saul (as External)


Mrs. Canty


The Cast of “Cheers” (no seriously!)

Story Notes: 

Cable was believed to have died in a battle against Stryfe on the Earth’s moon in X-Force #18.

Hammer’s paralysis was revealed in Cable: Blood & Metal #1.

The bar Vanessa and Tina walk into is none other than the one “where everybody knows your name”. Apparently, Tina has a history with the infamous Sam Malone – (wonder if Rebecca knows about that one.)

Deadpool’s quest for Vanessa and the Tolliver will begins here, and eventually continues into Deadpool’s first limited series – Deadpool: the Circle Chase #1-4.

Cannonball’s decision to dump the TDC into the ocean presents Cable and Garrison Kane with a dire circumstance in Cable’s own series – Cable (1st series) #3.

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