X-Force (1st series) #22

Issue Date: 
May 1993
Story Title: 
Ordnance Weighed in Blood

Fabian Nicieza (writer), Greg Capullo (penciler), Harry Candelario and Kevin Conrad (inkers), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Ericka Tinsley and Kevin Moran (colorists), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

With Graymalkin seemingly destroyed, the battle between S.H.I.E.L.D. and X-Force ends. Lila teleports her friends away, leaving Fury and the gang to contemplate their next move. Not far away, Cannonball and Sunspot rocket towards Earth in one of Graymalkin’s escape pods. Lila’s latest trip takes her and her friends to Camp Verde, X-Force’s newest base. While attempting to contact Cannonball and Sunspot, Cheney notices some incoming bogeys on the radar screen. The team springs to action, fearing an enemy attack, and after the first bogey lands discovers it’s only Cannonball and Sunspot. Behind them, Cable’s weapons depots and cargo bay terminal come crashing down. Meanwhile, Grizzly and Domino sneak into Department K headquarters under the guise of General Clarke and Val Cooper. Once inside, they download all the files on the computer system in the hopes of getting information on Cable. Unfortunately, their near perfect plan hits a snag when Weapon P.R.I.M.E. shows up. In Boston, Copycat and her friend Tina are having a night out on the town when Deadpool pops by. Tina ends up getting blown away by Sluggo leaving the two mercenaries to ponder Copycat’s fate. Back at Verde, Lila says goodbye to Sam before teleporting away for good. As if things couldn’t get any worse, Rictor yells for Sam to join them in the bunker. There, Sam sees a recording from Saul and Gideon of the Externals telling him they have need of him and they have captured their friends, Boomer, Siryn and Warpath. They warn Sam if he doesn’t do what they say his friends will die... most horribly.

Full Summary: 

0130 Hours


Cable’s space station, most recently found orbiting around Earth, explodes with an unbridled fury. The fate of the crew inside (X-Force, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and War Machine) is soon revealed, as they are teleported to the S.H.I.E.L.D. space shuttle nearby.
S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, sporting leis thanks to their brief transportational layover in a Skrull brothel, stand face to face with X-Force. Rictor asks Fury if the battle is over since Cheney saved their lives. Lila adds she’ll send them to the backside of Alpha Centauri if it’s not. Bridge takes aim with his weapon and tells the young mutants they’re under arrest. Lila smiles as she teleports herself and her friends away.
The S.H.I.E.L.D. crew is left to lick their wounds. Fury asks War Machine for the status on Graymalkin. War Machine tells him it’s gone from his sensors either destroyed or cloaked. Bridge is furious at Cable and the destruction and disaster left in his wake, his final legacy as he puts it. Fury stares out into the black vastness of space through one of the shuttle windows. He’s happy that at least X-Force never got their hands on Cable’s ordnance.
While near the Earth’s atmosphere, a lone escape pod rockets toward the planet’s surface. Inside are two of X-Force’s members, Cannonball and Sunspot. Sunspot asks if it’s getting hotter. Cannonball agrees leading Sunspot to believe their death is at hand. Cannonball assures him they’ll be fine and hopes Lila and the rest of the gang made it out ok.
Cannonball checks with Professor to see if the computer system is still online. Professor acknowledges his continuing presence, but adds his functions will terminate once the pod lands on Earth. Cannonball can’t believe they’re going to lose him, but Professor explains it’s a failsafe procedure to make sure nobody gets access to his programming from this part of the century.
The pod breaks through the atmosphere and slows its descent as the solar sail is deployed. Professor further explains that when the electromagnetic field surrounding Graymalkin ignited he used the explosion to create the perception of his destruction. Then he recloaked the bulk of Graymalkin.
North Oregon coastline

A home that costs more than most states’ entire annual revenue stands overlooking the majestic coast. Shackled along the rocky wall beneath, waist deep in water is Boomer, Siryn and Warpath. As the waves beat against them again and again Saul, owner of the majestic home above them, strolls out for a quick conversation. He apologizes for the manner in which he must treat them, but explains they are too dangerous to be dealt with otherwise.
Siryn curses at him, demanding to know who he is. Saul introduces himself and adds that he’s an External. Saul tells the X-Forcers they’re being kept there as part of his plan. Warpath asks what his plan is. Saul points at the mutant who just showed up, Gideon, and says it would be better to ask him.
Gideon greets the mutant teenagers with a wicked smile on his face. He revels in the hardship they’re facing all in the name of the External cause. He teases them with their impending death and mocks their current anguish, never explaining the purpose behind their capture.
Camp Verde

Lila Cheney’s teleportation vortex appears above the grounds of X-Force’s latest base of operations. Upon arrival the team’s thoughts turn towards Cannonball and Sunspot and their well-being. Feral heads off into the bunker to search for the other members of X-Force, completely unaware they’ve been captured by the Externals. Rictor orders the others to follow him into the communications room in the hopes they’ll be able to contact Sam and ‘Berto.
Lila fires up the comm board and finds no traces of their missing friends, nor any signs that S.H.I.E.L.D. is still searching for them. Feral returns with the news that none of the other X-Forcers are around. Rictor can’t believe they’re not back, as the trip into Phoenix for supplies should’ve only taken a few hours. Feral replies, “I calls ‘em like I smells ‘em.”
Cheney, still eying the comm screen, draws Rictor’s attention towards several incoming bogeys on the radar screen. They rush out of the bunker where Feral and Shatterstar are able to spot the approaching objects. They take off with Shatty and Feral in the lead. The first pod crashes and Shatterstar is first to leap on top of it and slice open the hatch. What he and Rictor find inside surprises them.
It’s not an attack as they originally thought, but their friends Cannonball and Sunspot safely returned. The former New Mutants scramble out of the pod and quickly get to work trying to maintain the Professor’s programming. Professor thanks Sam for the attempt, but doesn’t think it’s feasible. As he says this, his words are intermixed with static.
Sam detaches the hard drive from the mainframe. Using his limited technological skill he attempts to find a way around the termination programming. Unfortunately, the Professor becomes more and more garbled. Sam begs him to stay online, as he’s their last link to Cable. Professor’s final words are an attempt at comfort as he tells young Guthrie he leaves him Cable’s legacy. The Professor cuts out and Sam pounds his fist against the monitor in frustration as he never seems to get any closer to discovering the purpose behind Cable and everything he’s done. Sunspot directs Cannonball’s attention skyward pointing out the incoming weapons depot and cargo bay terminal, everything Cable owned, which is now theirs.
Department K Headquarters, St. John’s, Newfoundland

General Clarke and Val Cooper stride down a hallway inside Department K HQ. The General returns a crisp salute as they pass by a fellow soldier. When the young Corporal passes General Clarke thumbs his nose back at him, very unbecoming of the high-ranking officer. Val elbows him and tells him to stop being an idiot.
The quarreling duo arrive at the Operations/Maintenance room, hook up a password decoder, and gain access inside. Once there, the image inducers fail and reveal the true forms of Domino and Grizzly. After some friendly bickering, Domino sits down in front of the computer terminal and radios to Hammer they made it inside. Hammer tells her to plug in the access codes he gave them and she obliges.
Domino gains access to the system only to find their information on Cable is buried deep. With time being of the essence Hammer tells Dom to download everything and they can sort through it later. Domino types in the commands and hits “Send.” A voice from behind catches her unaware. Domino and Grizzly turn around to find Weapon P.R.I.M.E. standing poised, ready to strike.
Boston, Massachusetts

Vanessa and Tina, garbed in the exact same outfit, looking like twins, take a ginger stroll by the local Cineplex. Tina asks how much longer Vanessa will be stuck looking like her. Vanessa explains she doesn’t know and then spots some pretty jewelry through a storefront window. They both cup their hands against the glass to get a better view. While questioning how difficult it would be to bypass the alarm of the rinky-dink store, Deadpool’s reflection fills the glass.
‘Pool takes a swing at their heads with an iron pipe. Copycat blocks the attack with her arm and kick swipes him to the ground. The girls take off running. Deadpool gets up calmly from the pavement, jazzed at the prospect of an entertaining night. As the girls continue their run, one of them is shot in the chest, the center of her back blown straight out. Sluggo, the man holding the smoking gun, hopes he didn’t accidentally shoot Vanessa.
Deadpool catches up to them and tells Sluggo it’s been a long time. Sluggo asks Deadpool if he heard about Tolliver and about the will. Deadpool mutters under his breath about all the loons being let out of the bin and then a bit louder tells Sluggo he’s an idiot if he got the wrong one and dead if he got the right one.
Camp Verde

Cable’s old weapons depots stand wide open, the young X-Forcers inspecting their new stockpile. Their latest find comes from a bunch of vehicles, including a jet very reminiscent to the old IPAC, three one-man skimmers that look like airborne Harleys and lastly, a ground assault tank. Rictor is very pleased with all that Cable has left them and wonders where Cannonball and Lila went.
Speak of the devil; Lila comes around geared up in her spacesuit asking everyone if they know where Sam is. Nobody does and her search leads her to a small hill, upon which Sam stands, seemingly contemplating all that’s happened recently. Lila tells Sam she’s ready to go. Sam asks if she’s sure. Lila tells Sam she doesn’t want to be hanging around now that she’s on the lam. Sam tells her not to worry about S.H.I.E.L.D. Lila agrees, explaining it’s her record company she’s hiding from. She adds that her last album lost them a lot of money.
Lila looks into Sam’s face and notes the sadness in his features. She points out Sam’s gotten exactly what he wanted and asks why he’s still sad. He cups her chin between his fingers and blatantly tells Lila he doesn’t know. Sam can’t believe that after everything this is all Cable has left them. Lila tells him to think about it, that in a way maybe it’s all he really asked for. With that, she teleports away.
Rictor spots Sam atop the hill and yells for him to get down and join them. Sam comes rushing over and asks what’s wrong, sensing the urgency in Ric’s voice. ‘Berto tells him they’ve received a message on the comm-array and it isn’t good.
Sam follows his teammates inside the bunker and stops short when he sees the visage of Saul on the screen. The message greets Sam and tells him there might be something within his genetic structure the Externals need. Gideon appears alongside Saul and tells him they have something X-Force needs too. The screen changes position and Warpath, Boomer and Siryn are shown trussed up and unable to move. Saul tells Sam to give himself up or his friends will die... most horribly.

Characters Involved: 

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

Lila Cheney
Domino, Grizzly, Hammer (all former Six Pack members)

Nick Fury, G.W. Bridge (all SHIELD)

War Machine
Gideon, Saul (all Externals)
Double Trouble, Killjoy, Tigerstryke, Yeti (all Weapon P.R.I.M.E.)

Tina Valentino

Story Notes: 

The battle in Graymalkin as well as Boomer, Siryn and Warpath’s abduction occurred in the previous issue.
The sentient computer program “Professor” comes from Cable’s future.
Deadpool’s quest for Vanessa and the Tolliver will continues into Deadpool’s first limited series – Deadpool: the Circle Chase #1-4
By “Harley”, Rictor was referring to the American made Harley Davidson motorcycles.
Lila next turns up bothering X-Factor, or more specifically, Strong Guy in X-Factor (1st series) #93. In the aforementioned issue she’s back on tour and wants Guido back as her bodyguard.

Issue Information: 
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