X-Force (1st series) #97

Issue Date: 
December 1999
Story Title: 
Cracked Foundation

John Francis Moore (writer), Anthony Williams (guest penciler), Scott Elmer (inker), Mike Thomas (colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Lysa Kraiger (assistant editor), Jason Liebig (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Odysseus Indigo, Dr Chandra and Dr Joshua are preparing to merge the Celestial golem with the remains of Project Nineteen in an attempt to rewrite the genetic template of future generations. Selene reveals to Sunspot as they observe Indigo and the others that this is why she had enlisted his help, to prevent this from happening, as it does not fit well with the new Hellfire Club’s agenda. As they watch Indigo, they are soon confronted by the Sword team, and are captured. Cannonball, Moonstar, Proudstar, Meltdown and Bedlam arrive at Sledge’s junkyard, with Cannonball wanting to know Sledge’s side of the story that was erased from his mind all those years ago. Ulysses Dragonblood and Arcadia Deville make their presence known, and Acradia reveals to Moonstar that she has been haunted by dreams of a giant Demon Bear. Sledge and Ulysses reveal to X-Force information about the Damocles Foundation, which was formed by disillusioned Eternals, Deviants and humans who wanted to create and control the next species on this planet. Selene reveals to Sunspot that she would like him to join her new Hellfire Club. X-Force, Sledge, Arcadia and Ulysses arrive at Indigo’s base, and after learning another mutant is being held here, they go to free him - and are shocked to learn that Sunspot is here with Selene. Tensions arise between Sunspot and his former teammates, while X-Force are not happy about seeing Selene. Sunspot reveals that Indigo plans to use Reignfire, and the mutants break into the lab, but too late as the remains of Reignfire are infused into the Celestial golem. Ulysses and Odysseus - brothers - battle, while Selene gets the upper hand in taking control of Reignfire and the golem. She reverts the members of Sword to primitive creatures, and a combined attack of quantum energies from Moonstar and Arcadia manage to destroy Reignfire and the golem - angering Selene - who lashes out at X-Force.

Full Summary: 

Flashback images:

Millions of years ago, an advanced race of beings known as the Celestials made a primitive planet their destination. They traveled across unfathomable distances in order to conduct a monumental experiment that would alter this world’s future. Upon arrival, the Celestials sent forth their gatherers - robotic golem drones who scoured earth, air and sea collecting, categorizing and conducting genetic tests and alterations upon indigenous species. They concentrated most of their efforts on three species, turning one into a race of near immortals known as the Eternals. They gave primitive man the x-factor gene which would one day bear superhuman fruit. To the subterranean dwellers called Deviants, they bequeathed a genetically unstable lineage where mutation is the norm, not the exception.

Finally, when the Celestial host left Earth, they left behind a handful of the golems. Over the course of the millennia that followed, the harsh elements of a still wild and changing world swallowed the golems, burying them in the most inhospitable locations - beneath desert sand, in volcanic lava and deep under the ocean. Until now….


Today, in an inaccessible part of the Amazon Rainforest, a dense jungle where few men have ever set foot. Ancient stone gargoyles which predate recorded history guard the entrance to subterranean chambers which lead far beneath the Earth’s surface to a lost city built millennia past by architects of an inhuman race. Once this was a colony of the underground empire of the changelings and grotesques called the Deviants. Then as empires are wont to do, the Deviant kingdom crumbled and fragmented, and the colony was abandoned.

Recently, it has been reclaimed by a mysterious organization called the Damocles Foundation, whose members include expatriate Deviants, rogue Eternals and a select group of humans. At this hour, the Foundation’s leader, the cunning Odysseus Indigo, who renounced his loyalties to the Deviant empire to create his own - stands in what was once a gladiatorial arena. At his order, two of the foundation’s most brilliant scientists, geneticist Dr Segismund Joshua and bio-cyberneticist Dr Chandra have traveled halfway around the world in order to bring the only known celestial golem gather, a means to make Indigo’s dreams of empire a reality.

The golem lies on a table in the center of the arena. The Damocles logo - a sword over the Earth is embedded onto the arena floor. Four monitors stand at the edge of the arena. Dr Chandra stands at one of them, while Dr Joshua stands closer to the golem, and Odysseus Indigo stands at another monitor as he declares: ‘He’s beautiful, isn’t he?’ explaining that one of the recovery teams found him in the Mariana’s Trench, and that this one is in even better shape than the first one they recovered ten years ago. ‘I’m here to personally oversee that all goes well here. I refuse to lose this one like we did the last one’.

Indigo places a hand on the golem’s chest and tells his colleagues that, when he created the Damocles Foundation in order to engineer the next dominant species, he knew that theirs would be the only one with this goal. He exclaims that now, with a celestial golem at their disposal, they can leave Sinister, the Hive, AIM and the rest far behind. ‘For just as the Celestials used these machines to restructure the DNA of our ancestors we will be able to rewrite the genetic template of future generations’ Indigo boasts. ‘Assuming we succeed today’ Dr Joshua remarks. ‘To attempt to graft such a volatile power source to a machine we know so little about is reckless’ he declares.

Indigo holds up a globe containing a mysterious being inside it and exclaims ‘You have voiced your concerns, Dr Joshua, however I believe the safeguards Dr Chandra has implemented to be more than enough to allow us to use the remains of the Reignfire entity to reawaken the gatherer!’. Indigo declares that he does not think they will have any of the previous problems Dr Joshua had in controlling the Reignfire entity.

Meanwhile, up above, an unlikely duo watches from the shadows. She is Selene, a centuries-old enchantress and Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. Her bewildered companion is Roberto DaCosta, heir to millions and the solar-powered mutant called Sunspot, formerly of X-Force. ‘You can see why I brought you here’ Selene tells her young companion. ‘You have a personal stake in stopping Indigo’ she reminds him. ‘I don’t care about the Damocles Foundation, but Reignfire’s another matter. That thing nearly stole my life!’ Bobby exclaims, frowning.

In Flashback Illustrations:

When Reignfire first appeared, taking control of the Mutant Liberation Front after Stryfe’s defeat, the fiery terrorist confounded X-Force. He seemed to be intimately acquainted with every part of the heroic young mutant’s lives, while to them he remained an enigma. None of the members of X-Force wanted to voice their suspicion that there might be an uncomfortable connection between Reignfire and Sunspot. Then, following months of mysterious absence, Bobby returned and announced he was Reignfire.

However, despite Bobby’s assertion, the real truth was far more convoluted. Reignfire was Project Nineteen, a protoplasmic mutant symbiote being studied by Dr Joshua who later introduced Bobby’s blood into Nineteen’s system. Nineteen assumed Bobby’s shape, inherited his solar based power, and gained an intimate knowledge of Roberto. For a psychic link between him and Bobby had somehow been forged, a one way link that allowed Reignfire to control Bobby at times. When Cable severed the link, mistakenly believing that he had destroyed an aberrant personality in Bobby’s brain, Reignfire disappeared, psychically scarred and traumatized. Recently he returned, this time, desperately trying to kill Bobby and the other members of X-Force. Eventually, he was defeated, reduced to his original protoplasmic state.

Sunspot and X-Force believed Project Nineteen to be in SHIELD custody, but Bobby recently learned that the SHIELD agent who claimed the body was in fact an agent of the Damocles Foundation.


Sunspot tells Selene that he cannot afford to risk Reignfire playing games with his life and endangering his friends yet another time. ‘But I’m sure you know that - or you wouldn’t have tracked me down to get my help’ Bobby adds, before asking Selene to be straight with him. ‘Why are you here?’ he asks her. The Black Queen replies ‘A pre-emptive strike. I have no interest in letting Indigo’s organization become powerful enough to interfere with the Hellfire Club’s agenda’. She adds that it is no just Reignfire, but the golem that they must destroy.

Suddenly, ‘You won’t have that chance, witch. Argos the Hunter promises you that!’ exclaims Argos as he steps forward. He is among the Damocles Foundation’s most formidable soldiers - the Sword. ‘Remember me, hunter?’ Bobby asks as he moves towards Argos. ‘I have not forgotten our first encounter in Kentucky. You will not be as lucky as you were then’ Argos replies. Bobby flies into Argos, telling him that luck has nothing to do with it. ‘It’s all training. Well, training and a little attitude’ he exclaims, while Argos cries out for his staff, which Bobby knocked from his hands.

‘How many times have I told you, Argos, you cannot afford to toy with this new breed of humans - they are far too dangerous to allow them any advantage!’ declares Zona as she materializes and collects Argos’ staff, before smacking Bobby in the back with the staff. Zona is the leader of the Sword, and is a master of camouflage and invisibility. Her opponents are seldom aware of her presence until it is too late. Zona and Argos approach Selene, telling her to surrender, as Indigo wants her alive. ‘But that doesn’t mean unhurt’ Argos points out, while Selene exclaims ‘You knew we were here all along’. ‘From the moment you arrived’ Argos confirms. ‘It will only take a moment to cast a spell to spirit me away from here’ Selene declares as she runs from Argos and Zona.

‘Stop!’ exclaims a rather large member of the Sword who Selene almost crashes into. ‘My. Aren’t you a big one’ Selene remarks. The warrior introduces himself as Stranglehold, to which Selene replies ‘Well, there’s no hope of getting past you, is there?’. ‘Nope’ Stranglehold tells her. ‘Then I give up - oh and one other thing’ Selene exclaims, before casting a spell. This shunts Stranglehold backwards, and he screams that he is on fire. ‘I’ve been putting over-confident brutes in their place long before you were born, Deviant…’ Selene exclaims, when, suddenly, Selene screams as lightning bolts of electricity lance through her body. ‘You won’t do that again, witch’ a voice exclaims as Selene falls to the ground.

Another member of the Sword appears over Selene, ‘Confused? Allow me, dear lady. I am Pyre. I control the atmosphere’ the warrior exclaims, suggesting Selene be thankful he did not ignite the oxygen around her in payback for what she just did to Stranglehold. ‘Rot…in…Hell…’ Selene whispers. Zona pulls the Black Queen off the ground and remarks that it is too bad Pyre’s shock treatment failed to change her personality. Argos tells Zona to be careful that Selene doesn’t cast another spell.

Suddenly, Odysseus Indigo arrives, ‘I’ll see to that ladies, and gentlemen’ Indigo declare, telling Selene that he is sorry they have to meet this way. ‘Give you a tumor…malignant…tumor…will consume you…from inside…’ Selene utters. ‘I’m sure you would, but you understand I can’t let you’ Indigo replies as he tips an orange dust from a pouch into his hand, then rubs his thumb into it, and presses four marks of the orange into Selene’s head as he tells her that it is the ashes of a Lemurian sorcerer. ‘With this containment mark you will be unable to harm me in any way’ Indigo tells Selene, who boasts that she doesn’t need magic to skewer him like the pig he is. ‘You are as charming as your reputation implies’ Indigo smiles.

Meanwhile, in Detroit, on the outskirts of the city is an unusual junkyard belonging to a strange and eccentric fellow named Sledge. There is nothing he cannot procure for his clients for a price. It is rumored that mob bosses and politicians alike owe him for services rendered. Tonight, Sledge entertains guests who have come to him seeking sanctuary. This he gives freely for he owes one of them his life.

Sledge moves through his workshop, followed by the two new arrivals - one human female, the other something more. ‘My sources confirm yours. That rat found another one’ Sledge exclaims, adding that you would think the host would have picked up their garbage on the way up. ‘Now, we have to clean their mess’. ‘You destroyed the last one, old friend. I shall take care of this one’ the inhuman companion remarks. ‘Not with that arm, pal. It still hasn’t healed since the last time you faced your old crew’ Sledge tells his strange companion.

‘I can deal with them’ the woman boasts, hands on hips. ‘You’ve spent the past year putting as much distance as possible between you and those goons - why be a moron and risk capture again?’ Sledge asks her. The woman protests that she has been training, and can control her power. ‘I’m not saying you don’t have the right stuff, sweetie, but face it, you still don’t have complete control over that talent’ Sledge points out. Suddenly, an alarm sounds. Sledge turns to a monitor, and excuses himself form his companions, explaining that is the outside alarm, and that he has trespassers. ‘They oughta be meeting my puppies right about now’ Sledge declares.

At that moment, the trespassers are making their way through the junkyard when several robotic dogs made of junk begin attacking them. However, the trespassers are none other than teenage mutant heroes known as X-Force! ‘Guess this Sledge doesn’t cotton much to visitors!’ Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie remarks. Danielle Moonstar points out that Sledge has got top-secret military hardware and state-of-the-art electronics. ‘He’s more than just some crazy old junk dealer!’ she declares. ‘Say the word and I’ll pull the plug on all these mechanical pit-bulls!’ Jesse “Bedlam” Aaronson boasts.

But James Proudstar tells Jesse not to bother, pointing out that Sledge’s robot-wielers are designed to scare the locals, and are of no threat to them. ‘No threat, right. I’m sure if we scratch their ears they’ll roll over and lick themselves’ Tabitha “Meltdown” Smith mutters. Suddenly, a garage door opens, and Sledge emerges from his office. ‘James! It’s been a while, my boy. What brings you and your friends to the Motor City?’ Sledge calls out. ‘A personal matter’ Proudstar replies. Sam stands next to his friend and James introduces Sledge to Sam, explaining that he rejoined the team after they last met. ‘But it turns out you two havge already met’ James reveals to Sledge.

‘We have?’ Sledge asks, surprised. ‘Ten years ago. At a Kentucky roadhouse called Big Susie’s’ Sam reveals. ‘You were a child then. I’m surprised you remember that night’ Sledge replies, leaning on his crutches. Sam declares that he would never have forgotten any of that evening if Sledge hadn’t erased it from his mind. ‘I know my uncle’s side of the story. Now I want yours’ he declares. ‘Well, you couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Tell me, do you believe in coincidence?’ Sledge asks. At that moment, Sledge’s guests enter the junk yard. ‘You can’t be thinking of using these children, Sledge’ the strange looking one remarks. ‘We didn’t need their help before, and we don’t need it now’ the woman declares.

‘I believe you know Ulysses Dragonblood and Arcadia DeVille’ Sledge exclaims. ‘Yeah, we met in Kentucky a few months back’ Sam replies, adding that Arcadia did a real number on Dani. ‘Moonstar…’ Arcadia exclaims. ‘Arcadia’ Dani replies. It was in a rural farmhouse where Dani tried to stop Arcadia from killing two members of the Sword. Arcadia resisted Dani’s intervention, inadvertently catalyzing a singular transformation in the Cheyenne-born mutant. Dani then became able to channel a quantum energy that changes the subatomic structure of living things and inanimate objects alike. ‘Do you have any idea what you did to me?’ Moonstar asks. ‘What I did to you?’ Arcadia snaps back. ‘I’ve been haunted by these weird dreams with you and a giant Demon Bear -’ Arcadia begins.

‘You’ve been dreaming of the Demon Bear? I thought I saw its ghost in Golden Gate Park!’ Dani exclaims, adding that there must be more to this - when suddenly, energy crackles around her as she gets closer to Arcadia. ‘Whoa!’ Dani exclaims, stepping back. Ulysses explains that Arcadia unknowingly gave Moonstar the same ability she has to warp reality, and now their proximity is activating the other’s powers. Sledge suggests that they discuss this in transit, as the odds of success have become much greater in the past few minutes, but time is running out. Ulysses admits that X-Force are an efficient unit, but that this does not concern them. ‘Guthrie was there when I destroyed the last one your brother’s people found’ Sledge reveals, before Sam asks them what they are talking about.

‘The Damocles Foundation’ Sledge replies. ‘They have in their possession another of the Celestial gatherers like the one you saw me destroy’. Moonstar announces that they have had a few encounters with the Foundation themselves, but they don’t know much about them. ‘They hide behind many fronts but here is the truth’ Odysseus declares:

Illustrative images, narrated by Odysseus Dragonblood:

‘For millennia, the ethereal Eternals and my people, the Deviants, warred with each other for control of this planet. Humanity, ignorant of our shared history, believed us to be Gods and Devils - and out interaction with mankind became intermingled with myths and folk tales’.

‘A thousand years ago, a covenant between Eternal and Deviant was reached, and we agreed to leave humanity to its own devices until the fourth Celestial host arrived’.

‘Before the fourth hose arrived, man split the atom, and the true balance of world power began to shift. My brother, Odysseus Indigo, broke away from the Deviant empire and formed a splinter group of Deviants and Eternals and humans to create an control the next species that will rule this planet. I was part of the Foundation until I realized that my brother’s interests were entirely selfish, and left, taking Arcadia with me’.


Ulysses exclaims that with a Celestial golem at his command, Indigo no longer needs Arcadia’s reality-warping abilities. ‘The gatherer gives him the means to jumpstart the next evolutionary step. We can’t let that happen!’ Sledge declares.

Meanwhile, in a holding cell in the Deviant outpost, Selene tells Bobby that he is wearing out the floor pacing back and forth, and tells him to relax, as this is only a temporary setback. ‘How can I relax when we’re far beneath the Earth’s surface in a cell that somehow cancels out my power?’ Bobby replies. ‘Hmm…I can see how that might upset you’ Selene tells him, to which Bobby frowns and asks Selene not to patronize him. ‘I don’t like you that much, and considering all the times you made life a nightmare for the X-Men and New Mutants, I certainly don’t trust you. The only reason I agreed to come with you is because Indigo. The only reason I agreed to come with you is because Indigo has possession of Reignfire’ Bobby declares.

‘That’s the difference between us, Roberto. I have absolute faith in you’ Selene tells Bobby as she walks over to him. ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ Sunspot asks. Selene smiles and strokes Bobby’s face, telling him that he has such potential and yet he has squandered it with Xavier’s scout troops. ‘They’re holding you back’ she tells him. ‘What are you doing?’ Bobby asks, pulling away from Selene’s touch. ‘Afraid of what I might do to you?’ Selene asks. ‘Since you’ve been known to drain the life-force of your enemies until there was nothing left but dust - I’d be a fool not to be afraid of you’ Bobby retorts. Selene poses seductively and runs her hands through her hair, telling Bobby not to be a child. ’I am a sorceress, not a succubus. And I’m offering you power’ she announces. Selene informs Sunspot that she is in control of the Hellfire Club now, and after they have disposed of Indigo, which they will, she wants Sunspot to renew his membership.

Elsewhere, X-Force, Sledge, Ulysses and Arcadia materialize on a platform underground. ‘In the old days, the Deviants harnessed monstrous beasts Rockgnashers to cut thousand of miles of subterranean tunnel. It allowed us to travel throughout the world unnoticed by humanity’ Sledge reveals, adding that the royal Deviants however used teleportation technology stolen from the Eternals, and it is fortunate that some are still active like this one. ‘You say us. Then you’re a Deviant’ Meltdown declares. ‘By birth. By choice I am American’ Sledge replies, revealing that in the 1950’s he aided the State Department and was given citizenship. ‘How could I not love the country that gave us the Cadillac, Eldorado and basketball?’

‘You talk too much, old man!’ exclaims an ape-like Deviant crouched at the control console. ‘Hello, Veeg. You’re looking well’ Sledge replies. ‘Just because I agreed to help you does not mean I want to make conversation with you’ Veeg replies, declaring that he has taken great risks in bringing everyone here, and that Indigo will skin him alive if he finds out that he has been feeding Sledge information. ‘Earlier today, the Sword captured two spies - a human female and male. One is supposedly a mutant’ Veeg reveals. ‘Another mutant?’ James asks, concerned. Sam remarks that if this mutant is a prisoner, they may be able to enlist his aid, or at least use him to create a diversion. ‘Take us to him!’ he exclaims.

A short time later, X-Force, Sledge, Ulysses and Arcadia stand in front of a cell door. ‘If this is gonna take a while, let me blow the door down’ Tabitha offers. ‘What, and wake the whole neighborhood. Allow me. My powers are more discreet’ Bedlam exclaims. But Sledge tells his young friends that there is no need, as his disruptor has done the work. And with that, the doors slide open - revealing Sunspot behind them. ‘Bobby?’ Sam calls out, shocked. ‘I don’t know how you ended up here, but it’s good to see you, man!’ Cannonball exclaims, opening his arms to embrace his friend.

But Sunspot pulls back: ‘Hmm. I didn’t think you guys cared what happened to me’ he tells his former teammates. ‘I mean, I got ramrodded out of the States and no one except Domino came to see me’ Bobby tells them. ‘We didn’t find out until you were out of the country’ Sam exclaims, while Tabitha snaps at her ex-boyfriend, telling him not to get on his high horse, as he didn’t exactly leave them a forwarding address, or call them.

Suddenly, Selene appears behind Sunspot: ‘That’s because Roberto had more important things to do. Hello, children’ she exclaims. ‘Selene…’ Proudstar whispers, while Moonstar tells those unfamiliar with Selene to stay back, as she is dangerous. ‘So am I’ Arcadia boasts. ‘No, Arcadia. She’s a centuries old enchantress. She’s dangerous and deadly!’ Dani declares. ‘Don’t tell me you’re worried that I’m holding a grudge following our Texas encounter - when you destroyed the rune staff I was using to channel the power of interdimensional convergence. I’ve moved on. I suggest you do the same’ Selene declares. ‘Bobby, what in God’s name are you doing with her?’ Cannonball asks. ‘Lesser of two evils’ Sunspot frowns, as he reveals to his friends that Indigo is using Reignfire to power the golem. ‘And we need to stop them!’

Back in the arena, the golem has been opened up, and Dr Chandra and Dr Joshua stand over it. Dr Chandra remarks that the gatherers require an enormous amount of energy that they could never produce and maintain at this scale. ‘By implanting the Reignfire entity into the Celestial made host, we have given it a powerful solar battery - whose unique symbiotic nature should adapt to the gatherers’ physiology. ‘You hope’ Dr Joshua tells her, pointing out that they don’t really understand the Celestial science behind the gatherers. ‘Oh, Doctor, are you still angry because I took your pet project away from you? After the fiasco in Las Vegas, you’re lucky your involved at all’ Dr Chandra declares. ‘You never liked me, did you?’ Dr Joshua asks. ‘Ahem…beginning bonding. Activating power feed’ Dr Chandra exclaims, ignoring her colleague’s question.

Energy crackles around the golem, while Indigo tells the Doctors that he is curious. ‘If we re-awake Reignfire, how can we be certain that he won’t attempt to control the gatherer?’. Dr Joshua replies that the psi-team destroyed the core personality after Holiday brought Reignfire back from Vegas. Dr Chandra explains that her team then implanted synaptical nannites which allows them to control the entity. ‘Reignfire can be turned on and off at will’. Suddenly, there is an explosion in the arena. ‘Hell’s bells!’ Indigo exclaims, turning around.

‘This abomination goes no further, Odysseus’ Ulysses tells his brother, with X-Force, Sunspot and Arcadia at his side. ‘Why, little brother, you’ve brought X-Force and Arcadia to me. If you’re trying to make amends for your betrayal, this is a very promising start’ Indigo exclaims. ‘Take out Indigo, hard and fast!’ Cannonball orders. The stern-faced young mutants all rush towards Indigo, despite Ulysses exclaiming ‘No!’, and the always brash Arcadia calling them idiots. ‘They have forgotten that I can neutralize the superhuman ability of any foe’ Indigo remarks, as X-Force fall to the ground before him. ‘That power never worked against me, brother’ Ulysses points out, adding that it doesn’t work on Arcadia. ‘That means you’re out of luck, bud’ Arcadia declares.

Indigo grins wickedly, ‘Are you going to let a little girl fight your battles, brother?’ he asks, admitting that Ulysses will need Arcadia’s help against him. ‘Let’s not forget I was the first born. I’m stronger, smarter and better looking than you!’ he boasts. Indigo tells Ulysses that he should have remained loyal to the Foundation. ‘You mean to you’ Ulysses exclaims. ‘There’s no difference. Without my vision and guidance the Foundation would have fallen apart long ago’ Indigo boasts, before he punches his brother in the stomach. ‘You and I both know the world is on the brink of an age of catastrophe -’ Indigo exclaims. ‘Nothing would be more disastrous than giving you more power than you already hold’ Ulysses replies.

‘Ulysses, move! I can’t get a clear shot at -’ Arcadia exclaims, while Indigo pulls his brother backwards, ‘You’re a little unfocused, brother. Could it be that you’ve grown to care for the girl? How positively paternal’ Indigo remarks, telling his brother that Arcadia will be better off without him. ‘I’ll make sure her talent and power don’t go to waste. ‘Arcadia, remember what I told you - don’t look him in the eye!’ Ulysses calls out. But it’s too late. Arcadia tries to look away, but Indigo’s gaze is like that of a cobra - hypnotic. Arcadia stands frozen, mesmerized, helpless.

On the other side of the room, Sledge, who has watched from the shadows, makes a slow but purposeful move toward the golem. ‘Damn these legs. If I could only move the way I used to, this thing would be destroyed and we’d be back in time for the Pistons game!’ he tells himself, when, suddenly, ‘Sorry, you crippled old frog, I can’t let you do that!’ Selene declares as she smacks Sledge back across the arena. ‘What are you doing, Selene?’ Sledge calls out. Selene shoves her hands into the golem’s chest, and smiles, ‘Finishing what they started. Indigo intended to control the gatherer through the Reignfire symbiote and science - but I can do the same thing with sorcery!’ she boasts.

Sunspot looks at Selene, and in his mind, he feels what is left of Reignfire’s psyche reawaken, screaming. ‘Why are you doing this, Selene. I thought you wanted Reignfire destroyed as much as I did?’ Sunspot calls out. ‘Alive…I am... Alive…’ Reignfire utters. ‘It’s far better this way, Roberto. Reignfire and the gatherer are mine to command’ Selene declares. ‘You must be insane!’ Cannonball tells her, while Proudstar points out that the golem is moving. ‘Arise!’ Selene exclaims, with the golem now standing behind her. Everyone turns their attention to Selene and the golem, as Selene tells Bobby to tell his friends to step back.

‘And as for you, Indigo. You’d be wise to remember that this creature has the power to create and destroy’ Selene exclaims. Indigo asks Selene what she wants from him, to which Selene reveals that she wants the Damocles Foundation. ‘You’ll be working for me from now on’ she declares, when suddenly, ’Never!’ shouts Pyre as he and the Sword appear. ’Ah, the Sword. Indigo’s attack dogs. Stop them, my pet!’ Selene orders. With that, the gatherer blasts them with energy - and de-evolves the sword into their primitive reptile-like ancestors.

Selene grins, and tells Indigo that if he doesn’t want his own pre-Cambrian make-over, then she suggests he gives her what she wants. ‘Selene, you’re much too clever a woman to be wasting your time with that tired old boys club’ Indigo tells her. ‘Maybe you haven’t heard. There’s been a change in management. The Hellfire Club belongs to me!’ Selene announces, proudly. ‘Is it just me, or does anyone else feel their power coming back?’ Meltdown asks her friends. ‘Indigo’s obviously more worried about Selene and the gather than he is about us. And Frankly, I’m not thrilled about that combination either. We have to destroy the gatherer’ Cannonball declares. ‘I think i can take care of the gatherer, but…’ Moonstar begins, ‘You’re gonna need help. Funny, that’s exactly what I was thinking once I shook off Indigo’s evil eye. Is it just me or are we tuning into each other’s brainwaves, or something?’ Arcadia exclaims as she and a now sparkling Moonstar attack the golem.

‘I can’t explain the bond between us, Arcadia - but without your assistance, I could not stop this creature!’ Moonstar replies. Together, the two young women’s energetic assaults rend the gatherer apart at a subatomic level. When they are done, there is nothing left of the golem - or of Reignfire. Their actions, however, do not sit well with Selene. ‘Moonstar, I have tolerated your presence out of respect to Roberto, but I have had enough! Your meddlesome presence has cost me yet another valuable tool, and I will not look the other way a second time!’ Selene booms, casting a spell, she knocks X-Force back, exclaiming ‘You’ve brought this upon yourselves, children. Prepare to suffer as you never have before!’….

Characters Involved: 

Bedlam II, Cannonball, Meltdown, Moonstar, Proudstar (all X-Force)

Sunspot (former member of X-Force)



Ulysses Dragonblood

Arcadia DeVille


Odysseus Indigo

Doctor Chandra

Doctor Joshua

Reignfire / Project Nineteen

Argos, Pyre, Stranglehold, Zona (all the Sword)


In Flashback Images.






In Flashback Illustrations:



Agent Holiday

In Illustrative Flashback Image:

Ikaris, Selene and other Eternals


Odysseus Indigo

Astarte, Electron and others

Story Notes: 

The handbook-like Marvel Atlas #1 reveals Dr Chandra’s first name as Niral.

Reignfire first appeared, as new leader of the Mutant Liberation Front, in X-Force (1st series) #26. Sunspot disappeared in X-Force (1st series) #28, and returned in #43, apparently as Reignfire. The psychic link between Reignfire and Sunspot was severed following the return from the Age of Apocalypse. The true connection between Reignfire and Sunspot was revealed in X-Force (1st series) #78-80.

Sunspot discovered that Agent Holiday of SHIELD was in fact working for the Damocles Foundation in X-Force (1st series) #96.

X-Force battled the Sword, in Kentucky in X-Force (1st series) #84.

X-Force last encountered Sledge in X-Force (1st series) #81.

The child Cannonball’s meeting with Sledge was chronicled in X-Force (1st series) #96.

Previously brunette, Arcadia now appears with blonde hair.

X-Force’s encounter with Ulysses and Arcadia took place in X-Force (1st series) #84, not #83 like the footnote states (although Cannonball met them in #83). It was in #84 that Moonstar and Arcadia’s clash took place.

Moonstar did see the Demon Bear in X-Force (1st series) #96.

X-Force encountered Odysseus Indigo in X-Force (1st series) #86, which is when they learned about the Damocles Foundation’s involvement with the town of Almost Reno.

For more on the origins of the Eternals and Deviants, and the covenant, see Eternals (1st series) #1.

X-Force encountered Astarte and Electron in X-Force (1st series) #93, two of the Eternals working for the Damocles Foundation.

Selene was the only member of the Hellfire Club remaining, and so re-started it with new members in the Fantastic Four Annual 1999.

Sunspot was approached by the authorities in X-Force (1st series) #91, and was taken into custody. X-Force assumed he was off on his own because Meltdown had broken up with him, before he was deported in X-Force (1st series) #93.

X-Force foiled Selene’s plans in X-Force (1st series) #75.

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