X-Force (1st series) #25

Issue Date: 
August 1993
Story Title: 
Back To Front

Fabian Nicieza (writer), Greg Capullo (penciler), Wiacek, Green, Ryan, Palmiotti, Hanna, Conrad, Milgrom (inkers), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), George Roussos (colorist), Bob Harras (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

An unknown visitor has hidden himself in X-Force’s home, though, when they arrive, they realize this and split up to try and find their unwanted guest. The visitor takes out the whole team, besides Cannonball and Boomer, who both end up figuring out the identity of the guest; it is none other then Cable. The team, besides Rictor and Sunspot, are happy to see their once-thought deceased leader back again. Cable is able to rectify Rictor and Sunspot’s animosity for him by explaining that while they thought he had killed both their fathers, it was Stryfe and not he. Believing Cable, they feel better towards him. Later that day, the team is surprised by the abrupt arrival of Exodus, Magneto’s emissary. After a brief fight, Exodus requests that Sunspot and Cannonball come with him to Avalon to meet his master. They agree, though only if Rictor, Boomer, Rusty, and Skids can go as well. Exodus agrees and takes the Avalon-bound X-Force away. Shocked by Cannonball’s apparent betrayal, Shatterstar begins to feel misgivings towards Cannonball, but Cable explains that before Cannonball left, he placed a comm-link onto Cable’s arm, which will allow the rest of the team members to follow in the IPAC. Meanwhile, Exodus has brought the team to a station that the team recognizes as Cable’s old station, Graymalkin. Exodus also introduces the team to his master, whom they recognize as Magneto. Magneto places his hands, religiously, on Rusty and Skids’ heads and destroys the implants that Stryfe had used on them. They, afterwards, seem to wake up from a dream world and remember nothing about their time with the MLF. Magneto next offers the team a chance to stay in his new home he has created and named Avalon. Meanwhile, Cable’s team on the IPAC has made its way to the station and Cable is very distraught about his former base now being controlled by a madman. Siryn calms him down and X-Force gets into the station where Cable tries to override the controls for Graymalkin’s bodyslide technology and put it back under his own command. Exodus, though, senses their arrival and tries to stop Cable from overriding the technology. Exodus fails and Cable teleports himself and all of X-Force, including Rusty and Skids, to a safe place. Cable informs Cannonball of his plans to destroy Graymalkin and, luckily for Magneto, Cannonball is able to talk Cable out of it. Very distraught, Cable allows Rusty and Skids to stay on Avalon, which was their desire, and transports all of X-Force, besides himself, back onto the IPAC, which he commands to head for Earth. Cable runs to Graymalkin’s central core and retrieves the Professor’s programming from the station’s database. After a tense battle with Magneto, in which Cable’s mechanical parts are tore apart, Cable requests that the Professor bodyslide him to the IPAC which it does, leaving Magneto behind to sulk over losing the X-Force members.

Full Summary: 

In the Arizona wastes rests Camp Verde, what used to be an Indian reservation where Warpath’s tribe members were murdered by an, as yet, unsolved person or persons. Now, though, X-Force calls the place home. After their Interpersonnel Assault Carrier (IPAC) lands, they step from the Hanger doors and wonder why, every time they come back to this place, it still does not feel like home. Feral, always on alert, sniff’s an unknown presence in the air and alerts the rest of the team of a possible intruder in their base. Exhausted, Cannonball splits the teams up, sending them in four parties of twos to different locations around the base and tells them all to meet back at the Comm-Room.

Cannonball and Boomer find the living quarters empty, but Cannonball is disturbed to find a schematic design he had been working on, finished and remade to be a better plan for a base of operations then he could even think of.

Fifty meters away from where Cannonball is, in a tunnel leading to the vehicle storage and maintenance bunker, Siryn and Warpath are making their way down the corridor. Warpath complains to Siryn about how loud her sonic scream is, but he is shocked when Siryn collapses to the floor with no explanation. Not long after, though, Warpath is shot in the back with a laser gun, which causes him to collapse to the floor also.

Two hundred meters northeast of where Siryn and Warpath were ambushed, in the medi-lab, Sunspot and Rictor are back to back in defense against whatever they heard take the other two members out farther down the hallway. Both members decide that it would be better to find Warpath and Siryn, but their plans are cut short when a shadowy figure walks into the room and fires a gas bomb at the two would-be heroes, knocking them both to the floor and making them become unconscious.

Fifty-five meters southwest of the garage, Shatterstar asks Feral if she has picked up the intruder’s scent yet? Shatterstar next tries to flirt with Feral a little, but their conversation is cut short by a magnesium burst that strikes both of them, temporarily blinding both members. Their shadowy attacker gloats, remarking that, since he trained them, they should not think he would want to attack them head on.

As the stranger gloats over the two X-Force member’s bodies, he says that it is now time to find Cannonball. Though the stranger does not have to wait long because Boomer sends a bomb into the strangers back, knocking him to the floor. Cannonball comes in and throws the stranger through the wall of guns, near where the stranger was standing. Cannonball asks the stranger to step into the light so they could see whom they are up against. When he does, though, their shock is extreme, because they find that the stranger has been none other than Cable all along, testing them. Cable walks from the gun rack, ragging on Cannonball and telling him how he should know better than to throw him into the number one thing that he could use against Cannonball ; the weapons rack.

Boomer then excitedly rushes to Cable and hugs him, telling him how happy is that he is still alive. Cable, shocked by Boomer’s affection, does not notice Cannonball preparing to punch Cable with his kinetic field. Instead, though, Cannonball just warns Cable that Boomer was distracting him and they both would have taken Cable out with that ploy. Impressed, Cable compliments Cannonball on his attitude as Feral welcomes Cable back. She asks Cable why he smells differently? He responds that it is because he is different, because “each battle should change a man.” Shatterstar comes up next and humbly falls to one knee, praising Cable as a “respected warrior,” coming back from a battle who was thought so recently “canceled”.

Rictor and Sunspot walk in as Shatterstar is talking and tell the rest of the team that they need to speak for themselves, because they both consider Cable still a murderer. Rictor blames Cable for killing his father but Cable is able to explain to Rictor and Sunspot that his recent events, being tossed in the time stream, have shown him that Stryfe had killed Rictor’s father and Gideon the External had killed Sunspot’s dad. With that explanation still sinking in to the two members, Cable explains to Cannonball that the time stream trip also taught him that he needed X-Force, not as an accomplishment to his goals, but to help make a difference in his personal life, as well.

Cannonball tries to reject Cable by telling him that maybe X-Force does not need Cable anymore. Understanding, Cable asks Cannonball if his recent role as leader has taken a toll on him and if he has had to distance himself from his friends in order to lead the team. Cannonball agrees that he has and both caringly hug, after which Cable apologizes for treating Cannonball so wrong. Warpath enters the room with Siryn next and takes up for Cable, telling them that after Cable helped him move on after he had seen his entire reservation murdered, he passionately believes in Cable. After that is said, Cannonball, happily, sticks out his hand and grasps Cable’s, shaking it, and tells him that it is good to have him back on the team.

Later in the day, Rictor sits with Shatterstar, Warpath, and Feral outside of the base waiting for the other five members of the team to finish their conversations inside of the base. Rictor gets extremely impatient and blasts a patch of cacti, complaining about how they have waited two hours for them to finish their conversation and that he should be in their meeting also. Rictor blasts the rock that Shatterstar is on after Shatterstar had almost finished his little taunt about how Rictor wants to be the leader. After Shatterstar threatens to temporarily hurt Rictor’s larynx to get him to quiet down though, Rictor does not say another word to him.

Inside the medical triage bunker, Cable looks through a microscope to see the implants that Rusty and Skids have been implanted with, which cause the two of them to follow any order Stryfe gives to them. Cable informs the team that he saw the implants before because Stryfe planted his own son Tyler with the same kind of implant. Cable also informs the team that no equipment that is on Earth can remove the implants, but if they could get to the Professor on Graymalkin he could get the Professor to remove the implants for him.

Siryn asks Cannonball if they could use the IPAC to go orbital and he informs her that they could, but only after they figure out for themselves if Cable is telling the truth. Surprisingly, Cable explains to the team about how his real name is Nathan Dayspring and that he was sent to the future with a woman named Askani. Cable also explains to Cannonball more tidbits of his past, which in turn helps Cannonball relax a little better and trust Cable more. As Sunspot asks if Cable knows what will happen next, the perimeter alarm sounds and Cable tells Sunspot that the only thing he knows is that right now someone is fixing to be “spitting teeth on the desert sand”. The five then run from the medical room to find the rest of the X-Force team.

Rictor and the rest of the team outside are the first to make it to the intruder, who introduces himself as Exodus, an emissary of his Lord, “the maker of the magnetic storm”. Exodus tells the present members of X-Force that he is only after Cannonball and Sunspot, the first members of Xavier’s New Mutant team. Sensing hostility from the present members, Exodus sends a kinetic wave knocking all the members down. However, even Exodus is surprised to find that Warpath still is standing after the rest of the members fell down. As Exodus prepares another blast to take Warpath down, Siryn comes in and attacks Exodus with her sonic scream, giving the rest of the team time enough to catch up with her. Though her efforts were in vain, because Exodus uses his telekinesis to hold all the X-Force members on the ground as he tries to talk Cannonball and Sunspot into joining him and his master in, what Exodus calls, “Heaven”.

Cannonball agrees to go with Exodus, though only if Boomer and Rictor can join him and Sunspot. Exodus argues for a moment but then agrees in order to get Cannonball to go with him. As an afterthought, Cannonball asks for Rusty and Skids to be taken with them also. Exodus, extremely antagonized, agrees to the rest of Cannonballs terms and, as Cable begins to protest, Cannonball assuringly touches Cables shoulder. He tells Cable that he knows what he is doing and that maybe the X-Force team should go to a better place then where they are now. Exodus next tells the Heaven bound X-Force members that Heaven awaits those who pray. With that said, Exodus creates a whirlwind that sucks the members chosen for heaven into the atmosphere and up upwards.

Shatterstar, shocked by the events that have just transpired, tells Cable that he never thought Cannonball would betray them so easily. Warpath notices, though, that Cable knew what was going on and Cable explains that when Cannonball had toughed his shoulder he had placed a comm-link tracer on Cable, to let them know where the team chosen for heaven was taken. Shatterstar proclaims that he never thought Cannonball had such great battle tactics and Cable agrees, saying he had not noticed Cannonball’s recent maturity in thinking either. Siryn, while the team heads for the IPAC, comments that Cannonball seems to be becoming more like what all of his teacher’s have taught him to be, a leader.

In “Heaven,” Cannonball’s team arrives on a space station and taunts Exodus about how that each one of them are not impressed, because all of them have seen the same things that Exodus tries to impress them with, many times before. Exodus, at that time, brings the team into a room that he asks if they recognize. Exodus tells Cannonball that the team, should have, as he has already seen this station twice before, the first time when it was Cable’s ship known as Graymalkin and the second time now that it is called “Avalon”. Cannonball, worriedly remembers the Professor, the sentient program that once ran Graymalkin, and calls for the Professor to answer. Exodus laughs and tells Cannonball that the Professor will not answer because it has been reprogrammed.

With that said, a hooded figure walks in, proclaiming that every action that he himself does is not to hurt, but to help mutant kind. The team recognizes immediately who the hooded figure is as Magneto. As they stare shocked at his apparent return from death, Magneto calmly walks over to Rusty and Skids and, very religious-like, touches their heads. He changes the blood flow in their brain so as to destroy the devices that Stryfe planted inside of them to keep them under his control. Immediately, Skids and Rusty come to their senses and do not know where they are or what they have done while under the MLF’s control. Magneto then welcomes and asks them to join him in his new home called Avalon.

Cable and his team of X-Force are in the IPAC headed through space after Cannonball’s signal. Feral complains about being in space and Cable asks her to stop her “hissing”. Warpath is standing behind Cable, who is trying to find the coordinates of the signal. Cable, without saying a word to the others, realizes where the other team is and he tries to pull the coordinates up on the monitor. When he does, the rest of the team recognizes what Cable is thinking. As Cable puts a high-powered signal out to the object they are headed for, he causes the station’s cloaking field to disengage revealing to the now distraught team that Avalon is none other than Cable’s ex-station, Graymalkin. Cable, ticked off, explains to Siryn, who is trying to calm him down, that Graymalkin is all he has left of his past and their future and it is the only reminder of where he came from. Siryn calmly tells Cable that now he has X-Force and the teachings that he has shown them about preparing for a better future matter more than material things should. She then asks Cable if they are just going to sit around and stew or are they going in to save their fellow team members? Cable, pushing in the throttle, tells Siryn that they will go in and save their friends because, “Heaven also awaits those who prey”!

In the area of Avalon where Magneto and Cannonball’s team discuss Magneto’s offer, the intruder alarm sounds and Exodus teleports away to find the intruders and stop them. After Exodus leaves, Cannonball tells Magneto that he was the one to lead Cable and the rest X-Force to the station. Magneto, smiling at Cannonball, tells him how surprised he is that Cannonball has become such a great leader. Cannonball replies that he owes some of his leadership skills to the teachings of Magneto himself. Magneto asks the team if they still believe in Xavier’s dream or do they believe differently. Which, he claims that since they have left Xavier their independence proves that they do not follow Xavier’s dream. With that said, he then asks them if they will follow Cable’s dream or his own, because Cable’s dream will fail but his will not.

Cable’s team has made it through to a terminal where Cable tries to link up with it using his own personal computer system on his arm. He explains to the team that he is overriding the bodyslide technology to allow Cannonball’s team to be teleported to their location and then he is going to program Graymalkin to self-destruct. Exodus appears and tries to take out Cable, but Cable fires back with one of his guns giving Shatterstar and Feral enough time to ferociously attack Exodus. Exodus, calling the two members animals and tells them how he wants to send them back to the “hell” which earth has now become. He knocks the X-Force members away from him, but he does not notice Siryn who sonically screams and knocks the ceiling onto Exodus’ head. Warpath, following Siryn’s orders, runs in, commenting on how he hates hitting Exodus because he does look “Indian”. In the end, it does not matter though, because if he tries to hurt even one of his friends he deserves to have his glass jaw broken. Cable, who all along was still trying to override the bodyslide technology, finally does so and teleports Cannonball’s team and his own team to a safer location.

The two teams meet and Cable tells Cannonball that he needs to get X-Force to the IPAC, but Cannonball asks what Cable is going to do. Cable, in turn, tells Cannonball that he is going to save the Professor’s programming, then blow up Graymalkin. Surprisingly, Cannonball tells Cable, “No!” Cable, who is shocked, asks Cannonball why he said, “No?” Cable, still distraught, informs Cannonball that Graymalkin is lost to him and asks Cannonball if he knows who is responsible, because Cable knows and he does not want Magneto playing “Mad God” with the Earth. Cannonball passionately talks about when they gained their independence from Xavier and how they used the same argument Magneto uses against them. So, Cannonball asks, why should Magneto not deserve the same chance as they got? He saved Rusty and Skids and those two have decided to stay with Magneto on Avalon. Cable realizes Cannonballs logic and cancels the bodyslide of eight and asks the computer to bodyslide the rest of X-Force, besides himself, to the IPAC and take them back to Earth. Cannonball screams for Cable to follow them and Cable tells them he will not leave without the Professor. The team is transported away leaving their mentor behind to fight for himself.

Exodus watches the IPAC leaving but he senses that Cable is still onboard and comes to the conclusion that Cable is seeking out the Professor, to save what Exodus calls Cable’s mechanical soul.

In Graymalkin’s central core, Cable thinks of how so many years ago the Professor saved his own life and how ironic it is for him to be risking his life for a machine. As Cable opens his arm terminal and sticks his arm through a hole in the wall, he asks the computer to download the Professor into his arm terminal. As the Professor enters the arm of Cable he hears the thoughts of Cable and asks if he should thank Cable for saving him or chide him for his insults? Magneto walks in with full armor as Cable finishes telling the Professor of his plan’s to blow Graymalkin up. Magneto tells Cable that he has been gracious in allowing Cable to take the Professor, but if he tries anything else he will be forced to kill him.

Cable taunts Magneto, saying how that he has seen him fail so many times that he is doomed to fail again and that Cannonball would have never joined his cause. Magneto asks Cable if he thinks he offers a better path and Cable attacks Magneto, telling him how that they have not joined his cause, but, instead, he has joined theirs. Magneto explains, while they fight, that he once had the New Mutants to mold as he saw fit and gave that up. He asks Cable why would he be so stupid to give all that up by allowing Magneto to kill him? With that, Magneto rips apart Cable’s mechanical parts and Cable falls to the ground, unable to move. Still alive though, Cable has enough energy to ask the Professor to bodyslide him from Avalon to the IPAC, which it does.

Meanwhile on the IPAC, X-Force is shocked and horrified to see what remains of Cable after him teleporting in front of them. Sunspot asks the Professor if Cable is still alive which he replies that he is and Sunspot tells Cable that he is proud of him for returning with his heart and soul and having the ability to leave his material possessions behind.

On the space station Avalon, Magneto sits in his chair with Rusty and Skids behind him. Exodus exclaims to Magneto that Cable was not really that great of a challenge and Magneto disputes the claim, saying that Cable was, because Cable did win the battle. Magneto, his face shadowed by his helmet, angrily says that it is now time to forget about Cable and X-Force and focus on trying to get Xavier’s own brood to come to Avalon. As for Cable and his X-Force unit, he says, there is always tomorrow, isn’t there?

Characters Involved: 

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

Rusty, Skids



Story Notes: 

This issue is the second part of the Fatal Attractions crossover, continued from X-Factor #92 and continued in Uncanny X-Men #304. Like the other parts, this issue has a hologram card attached to the cover. This issue’s is of Cable.

The populace of Camp Verde was murdered in New Mutants #98.

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