X-Force (1st series) #23

Issue Date: 
June 1993
Story Title: 
Compromising Positions

Fabian Nicieza (writer), Greg Capullo (penciler), Harry Candelario (inker), Spike E. (letterer), Marie Javins (colorist), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

X-Force kidnaps Crule from the hospital hoping to glean all the information they can on the Externals from him. Sam, meanwhile, contacts Professor Xavier from X-Force base for much the same reason. Professor X admits he’s heard of the Externals, but not much more than that. Sam asks him for advice on whether he should break his promise about meddling in External affairs, but Xavier tells him it’s his decision to make. At Department K Headquarters Domino and Grizzly battle it out with Weapon P.R.I.M.E. Things start to turn sour so the “Two-Pack” head into a sewer run-off access duct to escape. Outside they get into Hammer’s van and manage to avoid capture. In Oregon, Saul and Gideon discuss the state of the Externals and what they believe X-Force’s response will be. They soon find out when the aforementioned team crashes into Saul’s home and quickly capture the immortal mutants. In Norwell, Massachusetts, Copycat packs up her things in the hopes of escaping, but Deadpool and Sluggo show up to ruin it for her. If that wasn’t enough, Domino, probably the one person in the world who hates Copycat most, shows up with Grizzly and Hammer. They take out Deadpool and Sluggo and before Domino can do any damage to Copycat, the shape shifter offers her information on X-Force’s whereabouts. Back at Saul’s, X-Force frees Warpath, Siryn and Boomer and after a war of words between Gideon and Sunspot, leave the two Externals to ponder their possibly short future.

Full Summary: 

St. Anthony’s Hospital, Portland, Maine


Feral, Rictor, Shatterstar and Sunspot stand facing the rear delivery service entrance to the hospital. Rictor asks if they’re ready before vibrating the pins out of the door. With the door removed, the foursome stealthily makes their way inside.

Ric in the lead, map in hand, they head down the hall to the third door on the right. Feral sniffs the door and determines their quarry is inside. Sunspot tells them to get ready as he places his hand on the doorknob. They bust through only to discover the person inside is in a full body cast and hooked to a bunch of machines.

Shatterstar cuts the wires with his swords and Sunspot lifts their target above his head. They make their way out of the hospital and into their jet. The ship takes off into the night sky, another X-Force mission completed successfully.

Rictor, arms crossed, stands in front of their kidnap victim and demands information. Shatterstar takes his sword and peels away at the casting around the face. The prisoner wants to know why he should help them. Shatterstar reminds him he’s at their mercy. ‘Star then asks for any information he has on the Externals. The detainee wants to know what he’ll get in return. Rictor tells him he’ll get to live and his heart’s desire, the Externals taken out one by one. Face now fully revealed, Crule says he’ll give them all the information they want and more.

Camp Verde


Cannonball calls Professor X through the video conferencing software. He asks the Prof for all the information he has on the Externals. Xavier explains he doesn’t know much about the immortal mutants, just rumors and hearsay. Xavier even admits he didn’t put much belief in it. Cannonball assures him they exist.

Xavier acknowledges Sam’s words and assures him the Externals now have his attention. Sam gets up from his chair and shouts at his old mentor that he can’t touch them, that he made a promise to the External called Gideon that he’d stay away from External affairs. The Professor points out they’ve kidnapped three of his friends. Sam asks if that’s worth breaking a promise, if that’ll make him just as bad as Gideon.

Xavier tells him the choice is his and it’s a difficult one. Sam weakly replies, “No kiddin’.” The Professor tells him to call again if he needs his help. He tells Sam he’s sure he’ll make the right decision. The transmission cuts out and Sam says, “Well, that makes one of us…”

Department K Headquarters


Everything hits the fan as Domino and Grizzly start blasting away at the five-man roster of Weapon P.R.I.M.E. Domino asks for a status report seeing as how Grizzly was a former member of the Canadian-based super team. Grizzly introduces Yeti, Double Trouble (twins with symbiotic plasma dischargers), the smiling guy he doesn’t know and Tigerstryke who wears an electromagnetic armor. Domino asks if they can take them. Grizzly isn’t sure.

Domino takes cover behind her teammate calling him a useless, beer-soaked bag of meat and reloads her guns. Realizing it’s only going to get worse, Domino contacts Hammer through the hands-free radio. Hammer starts searching through the building blueprints. Domino pressures him to hurry up. On one of the security cameras he’s hacked Hammer spots the so far unnamed Weapon P.R.I.M.E.er sneaking up Domino and tells her to duck. She does so and barely misses getting sliced open. Her assailant then introduces himself as Killjoy.

Killjoy makes contact with Grizzly, cutting him across the abdomen. Dom tells Grizz to keep Killjoy busy while she reaches into her pack. Domino pulls out a magnesium flare and shoves it in Killjoy’s face. She then receives a message from Hammer to go up two levels and she’ll find an A/C vent. She gives Grizzly the info and he blows a hole in the ceiling.

They head upwards with a rain of plasma hot on their tail. They make their way through the air-conditioning vent, which turns out to be a sewer run-off access duct. Grizz asks Domino if she remembers the operation in Cairo where she had to go through two miles of untreated raw sewage. When Domino says she does, Grizzly tells her she smells worse now.

They make their way outside and find Hammer and his van on standby. They get in and the van takes off. Tigerstryke blasts after them and almost nails them before the van sports wings and rocket engines and blasts off down the road. ‘Stryke can’t believe it, but promises P.R.I.M.E. will track them down and they’ll see what will happen then.

Saul’s residence, Oregon coastline


Gideon and Saul stand out on the balcony of Saul’s extravagant home, sipping tea while discussing whether or not X-Force will come to rescue their friends. Saul doesn’t believe they’d be dumb enough to try anything, but Gideon assures him they’re an arrogant and presumptuous lot. This leads Saul down memory lane and how in the past anyone who learned of the Externals’ existence would be killed or take their own life. He can’t believe how times have changed.

Gideon pours himself another cup and tells Saul only the obstacles have changed, that the goal remains the same. Saul repeats it as if by rote, “forever vying for political and monetary control over the destiny of this planet.”

This leads Gideon to ask how the death of Nicodemus plays into all this. Saul admits it changes several potentialities they envisioned, and he has no answer right now, which is why he wants to study the newest ascendant to their immortal ranks, Sam Guthrie.

Down below the two Externals, Boomer, Siryn and Warpath are chained to the rocky wall, beaten again and again by the waves. Saul adds that is why they’re using his friends as the bait to catch him.

Colorado Rocky skies

X-Force, in their new aircraft the Gainer, fly at full speed toward Saul’s residence. They discuss possible attack scenarios, a holographic display of Saul’s home emanating from the center console. They determine any type of sneak attack isn’t going to work with the high cliffs and all so Shatterstar opines a full-frontal assault. Sunspot agrees it would help prevent Gideon from duplicating their powers.

Crule gets all hot and heated with the discussion telling the young mutants to break Saul’s bones and rent his flesh asunder. Rictor jokes Crule’s one to talk while he’s in a full body cast. Shatterstar loses his temper and slices his sword through the holographic display. He says Crule is correct, they know who has their comrades and where so they need to come in fast and hard and leave a trail of destruction.

The being said, the Gainer comes in low, knocking trees every which way. It reminds Rictor of the old days when he and his cousin hot-wired cars in Guadalajara. Sunspot tells the team they’ll arrive at their destination in ten seconds. The Gainer crashes through the outer wall.

Gideon and Saul go diving for cover, totally caught off guard. Saul is surprised at the vehicle’s design, but has no time to reflect as he comes under direct attack from Rictor’s seismic powers. Sunspot blasts Gideon and he too falls to the ground. Feral leaps atop Saul, claws at the throat. Shatterstar kneels beside Gideon, sword dangling at the neck. Sunspot thanks Gideon for teaching him the art of the hostile takeover so well.

Norwell, Massachusetts, Tina’s place

Vanessa grabs as much as she can and stuffs it into a duffel bag. She can’t believe Sluggo killed Tina, as he used to love her. She also can’t believe she got Tina involved in all of it, with Tolliver and Deadpool and Cable. Tears begin streaming down her face.

A very large gun is placed against the back of her head. It’s Deadpool and Sluggo come to ruin the day. ‘Pool tells Copycat to make sure she packs the black bathing suit with the dolphins on them, his favorite. Vanessa pleads with them to stop. Deadpool reminds her it was Sluggo who killed Tina; he wouldn’t have wasted the ammo. In any case, he can’t kill her until they have a little talk.

Deadpool’s words are cut short, as well as his abdomen blown out, by a powerful laser burst. Sluggo takes a hit in the back too. A voice tells the “loser” that Copycat talks to her first. Vanessa looks up and proclaims, “You?!”
In front of her are Domino, Grizzly and the wheelchair bound Hammer. Domino, gun smoking, asks Copycat whose life she stole this time. No ones, she cries, and tries to defend what she did to Domino by blaming it on Tolliver.

Domino grabs ‘Nessa by the hair and yells at her she was held prisoner for over a year. She asks Copycat if she really didn’t have an opportunity to escape during all that time. She asks for one good reason why she shouldn’t blow her head off. Vanessa, thinking quickly, says she knows where X-Force is.
Saul’s Oregon Home

The two Externals still remain one carotid artery slice from bleeding out, in the meantime however, X-Force was able to fish out Warpath, Boomer and Siryn who now sit on one of the tables, wrapped up in blankets. The three wet mutants claim they’re fine, just angry. Sunspot tells them not to be too bothered, as they should never have expected the Externals to attack them at their home base.
Sunspot turns his attention towards his former mentor and asks if he is surprised they were able to exploit their weakness. Gideon smiles and says he was surprised Roberto survived the experiment they performed on him. He also adds this isn’t how he would have handled the situation. ‘Berto grits his teeth and says it’s how Cable taught Sam, hit hard, hit fast and smile while you’re doing it.
Gideon’s expression sours. Sunspot adds that if they want to test how their powers will react to the slitting of their throats he’s more than willing. Saul offers a stalemate. Rictor is infuriated and tells them no way, they’re making the choices. Gideon keeps his cool and reminds them of the promise they broke. Gideon scoffs at his disbelief that Xavier’s children would act like that.
Sunspot shoves a piece of paper in Gideon’s face. It reads,

“Dear Giddy,
I didn’t break my word. I said I would never interfere in External matters again, and I haven’t.
The others did.
I kept my promise. Back off now and I’ll let you keep your head.
Your pal,


Sunspot smiles as he stuffs the letter into Gideon’s front pocket. He tells Mr. Green ponytail they’re even and they never want to see them again. X-Force heads out to leave and Gideon goes to strike. Sunspot turns quickly and grabs him by the face. He pulls back his other arm as if to hit him and tells Gideon he’s yesterday’s news.
Sunspot gives one more lecture, that the day was not about winning or losing, but about getting their friends back, which is more important than any lesson Gideon ever taught him. Saul asks about Sam. He insists they need to study him or the Externals may all die. Shatterstar looks him square in the eye and tells him if they continue to harass them they’ll suffer that fate anyway.
After everybody loads up in the Gainer they take off. Gideon and Saul get to their feet and stand, watching as their last hope vanishes in a cloud of exhaust and kicked up dust.

Characters Involved: 

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

Professor Charles Xavier (all X-Men)

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

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

Story Notes: 

Crule was badly beaten, and as a result hospitalized, in X-Force (1st series) #15. Rictor blasted him out of an IPAC unit and he plummeted to the ground.
Cannonball promised Gideon he would stay out of External affairs to save Sunspot’s life in X-Force (1st series) #15.
Tigerstryke doesn’t make good on his promise to get Domino, showing up next with Weapon P.R.I.M.E. on a mission to capture Northstar.
Nicodemus was an External who died of the Legacy Virus in X-Force (1st series) #20.
Gideon used to be Sunspot’s business advisor; unknown at the time to Sunspot Gideon had ulterior motives believing Roberto to be an External.
Copycat masqueraded as Domino, even joining X-Force from X-Force (1st series) #1-15. During this time, Tolliver held Domino prisoner.
Once again in X-Force (1st series) #15, after Cable rescued Domino, he asked her to find X-Force for him. Since he’s supposedly dead at this point Domino is carrying out his “last wish.”
And the last X-Force #15 tidbit: Sunspot underwent severe biological testing courtesy of Gideon in this issue.

Issue Information: 
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