X-Force (1st series) #99

Issue Date: 
February 2000
Story Title: 
Bad Company

John Francis Moore (writer), Jim Cheung (penciler), Mark Morales (inker), Marie Javins (colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Lysa Kraiger (assistant editor), Jason Liebig (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Acknowledging the work of Chris Claremont & Bill Sienkiewicz

Brief Description: 

X-Force make their way through a chaotic San Francisco only to find the Demon Bear tearing up the city. Moonstar recounts the origins of the Demon Bear, while the team tries to keep it at bay - until Arcadia appears, revealing that the Demon Bear is after her and Moonstar. She explains to Moonstar that she has been haunted by the Bear since they first met, before the Bear picks Arcadia and Moonstar up - and swallows them. They land in what Moonstar assumes to be the realm of the Demon Bear. As they make their way through the cave-like terrain, Arcadia reveals what happened to her after she and Moonstar defeated the Celestial golem, before Moonstar finds a doll - she knows that it has some connection to Arcadia, and Arcadia reveals that the doll is called Mary Weather, and that it was her childhood toy, and that she used to imagine herself, Mary Weather and a dragon called Fenwick who lived in the magical kingdom of Meridan where they battled the Queen of the Star Swords. Mary Weather begins talking and explains to Moonstar and Arcadia that the Demon Bear is feeing off their energy. While the rest of X-Force continue to battle the Demon Bear, Meltdown is unaware that she is being watched by two people in suits, and Proudstar is rescued from a large falling sign by Risque. A SHIELD team arrives to use a multiphase plasma cannon against the Demon Bear. Cannonball and Bedlam attempt to stop them, but are unsuccessful. Back in the Demon Bear’s dimension, Moonstar and Arcadia find the “heart” of the Demon Bear, and begin absorbing their energies back from it - but Arcadia is not strong enough to contain the energies, and releases them - causing the Demon Bear to explode in spectacular display. But what is more shocking is what is left behind - four versions of Dani Moonstar! Meanwhile, Siryn being looked after by her aunt. She finds a strange antique shop, and is greeted by a woman who quickly places a necklace over Siryn’s neck - and the necklace begins to glow. At the Hellfire Club, Sunspot complains about having to wear the old fashioned clothing, while Selene encourages him to embrace his new position. Sunspot on the other hand is more interested in the fact that he can do more damage to the Hellfire Club as a member, than he could as part of X-Force, before regretting the fact he can never be part of Juliana’s new life. And across town, Juliana Sandoval - in her new body - wonders why she dreams of a Brazilian boy.

Full Summary: 

Not since the great quake of 1906 has San Francisco’s Market Street been the scene of such absolute panic. Struggling against a powerful tied of terrified locals and tourists, the young mutant heroes called X-Force push their way towards the source of the crowd’s fear. Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie, Dani Moonstar, Domino, James Proudstar, Tabitha “Meltdown” Smith and Jesse “Bedlam” Aaronson push their way past the panicked crowds. ‘Whoa, Dani, when you told us we had to get downtown fast, this was the last thing I expected to find!’ Sam exclaims as he flies overhead. ‘Believe me, Sam. If I’d known this was waiting for us - I would have locked the doors, bolted the windows and hid in my room!’ a concerned Moonstar replies as X-Force arrive at the cause of the chaos - the Demon Bear!

In the days to follow, many will try to explain the chaos and destruction caused by this supernatural beast’s rampage. Some will claim it was the result of mass hysteria caused by a hallucinogen released by terrorists. Others of a religiously fundamental bent will attribute this to an act of divine retribution, fit punishment for a city they see as a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. While more the more conspiracy orientated theorists will be certain that this is a Government experiment gone awry. Danielle looks at the ursine monstrosity before her. She knows the truth. The Bear has risen from the ashes of her past to come for her.

‘Not that it would have done any good. I cold never hide from the Demon Bear!’ Danielle exclaims, continuing her conversation, while Domino notices someone hanging around the Demon Bear - ‘Who do you think you are - Peter Parker? Get out of here, you idiot. RUN!’ she tells a reporter. A wide-eyed Moonstar announces that the Demon Bear is even larger than when she last encountered it. ‘But how can it be here now? It was destroyed’ she exclaims. ‘Ah know, Dani. Ah was there. We were all lucky to have survived’ Sam reminds her. ‘Are you guys telling me you’ve run into this thing before?’ Bedlam asks, horrified. ‘Not me. The New Mutants fought the Demon Bear a while before I joined ‘Meltdown replies.

James tells his friends that his grandfather used to tell him stories of the Great Beasts that walked the Earth before the white man came from the East. ‘Perhaps this is a sign of their return’ he suggests, while Domino asks Moonstar why she thinks this thing is after her. Dani hangs her head, and explains that when she was young, her parents William Lonestar and Peg Moonstar died trying to kill the Demon Bear which had come from the Shadowlands of its own world to hunt in this one.

Flashback illustrations, narrated by Moonstar:

Moonstar reveals that it was only when she was older that she realized the Bear was stalking her because it feared her latent spirit-sending powers. Moonstar explains that years after she had begun to hone her mutant powers as a student at the Xavier Institute the Bear returned, and determined to avenge her parents’ death as a true Cheyenne warrior, she faced the creature alone in the woods, armed with only her grandfather’s bow.

But that encounter left Dani mortally wounded, and if Sam and the other New Mutants had not found her bleeding in the snow, she would have died then and there. Only the Bear was not through with her - and it attacked her in the hospital where the New Mutants fought it off while the doctors worked to save her. Losing the battle in this world, the Bear transported the New Mutants to his own dimension, where he almost beat them, until finally Magik destroyed the Bear using her mystical Soulsword to split its skull - and in doing so, broke the spell that had transformed her parents into the Earthly embodiment of the Demon Bear.


‘It was the happy ending I had never allowed myself to hope for. And now the nightmare is beginning again’ Dani concludes, before announcing that she thought she saw the Bear in Golden Gate Park a week ago, but after she called her parents to see if they were okay, decided that it was just her imagination. She adds that when they were in Brazil, Arcadia DeVille said she was dreaming about the Bear, so all the signs pointed to its return, but she did not want to admit it. Sam tells his good friend that there is no point in beating herself up about it, reminding her that they have had more immediate problems - that business with the Damocles Foundation, and Selene manipulating Sunspot into joining the Hellfire Club.

Sam blasts towards the Demon Bear as he declares that he finds it best to deal with one thing at a time. ‘Like right now, Ah’m gonna try and keep this critter away from the crowd. Ah’m hoping if Ah hit it hard enough, I can drive it back into the bay!’ Sam explains, while Bedlam tells James that he has to give Cannonball his props. ‘He never runs away from danger’. The aptly named Cannonball accelerates towards the Bear, expecting to hit the creature with maximum impact. However, instead of connecting with a wall of ursine bone and sinew, Sam is engulfed in a thick shadowy miasma in which he loses all sense of direction, and feels a psychic assault of primal, chaotic emotion.

It is only the inertia of his cannonball velocity that propels Sam through this disturbing ether - although it leaves him dangerously disorientated upon his exit, land several yards away from Dani, who rushes over to him. ‘What happened?’ she asks. ‘When you disappeared for those few seconds, I thought we’d lost you for good’. Sam replies that it was like he was swimming through some kind of emotional toxic waste. ‘Ah felt fear and confusion, but not malevolence. Dani, Ah think this Bear’s different from the last one’ Sam explains.

Suddenly, Moonstar glows blue and sparkles as she releases quantum energy, declaring that she is not the same Dani Moonstar the Bear hunted years ago. ‘I command power that will bring it to its knees!’. Moonstar rushes towards the Demon Bear, with the primal cosmic energy channeling through her body, one that in the past she has been hesitant to use, fearing it will overwhelm her. At this moment, she feels no such reservation. She will destroy this monster, whatever the cost.

But James calls out to Dani, telling her to stop, as whatever she is doing is only make the Bear bigger and angrier. ‘I don’t know what’s wrong. How can it be feeding on my energy?’ Danielle asks, to which Meltdown mutters that they are going to need a giant-sized picnic basked to stop this one. Danielle turns to Sam and tells him that they have to contact Jennifer Kale, as the Demon Bear is a supernatural creature, and they shouldn’t be fighting it without some magical reinforcement. ‘Ah’m on it!’ Sam replies.

Suddenly, emerging from some rubble is Arcadia DeVille. ‘Don’t waste your time, kids’ the aggressive super-being declares. ‘This is not supposed to be your fight!’. ‘Arcadia! What are you doing here?’ Danielle asks. ‘Came to find you, Moonstar. Except these lame one way streets got me all turned around’ Arcadia explains, adding that the stupid bear flipped her car into one of those pay toilets the Mayor is so proud of. ‘Wow. This place looks like a war zone, huh?’ she remarks. ‘What did you mean about this not being our fight?’ Moonstar asks. ‘Bear couldn’t care less about your pals. It wants Us. You and me’ Arcadia reveals.

Meanwhile, in Looking Glass, California, ‘I hope ye’re not getting bored, spending all this time with yuir old aunt, Theresa’ Victoria Donnely smiles as she and her niece Theresa Rourke - the young mutant known as Siryn, until recently a member of X-Force - carrying packages of groceries as they walk down a street. Victoria tells Theresa that she knows this little desert town doesn’t compare to a big city like San Francisco, but it has its own eccentric charm, and as an eccentric old woman, she fits right in. Theresa smiles. To her, Victoria Donnely has always been “Aunt Tori” (although Victoria is actually Theresa’s mother’s cousin). To the literary world, Victoria Donnely is the expatriate Irish author of a series of strange and quirky mystery novels.

Suddenly, an elderly man approaches Theresa and Victoria. ‘Afternoon, Victoria. Is this the niece I’ve heard so much about? He asks. ‘Theresa, let me introduce you to Bradbury Collins, Looking Glass’ librarian and unofficial historian’ Victoria announces. Theresa smiles and waves at Bradbury Collins, while Victoria explains to him that Theresa is recovering from an accident with a rabid animal that cut up her throat something terrible. ‘Actually, a psychopathic ex-teammate named Feral ripped up my throat, but that would be too complicated to explain even if I could speak’ Theresa thinks to herself. Victoria tells Bradbury that until Theresa’s vocal cords heal, she has lost her voice.

‘My sympathies, young lady. I once knew a young man who lost an eye to a mountain lion, so in that respect, you are fortunate’ Bradbury replies. ‘Such tact’ Victoria tells him, to which Bradbury remarks that he almost forgot to tell Victoria that he has uncovered Wilhelmina Van Hook’s 1893 diary, and in it, she explains the truth behind Jedediah Farmington’s paternity. ‘It’s quite scandalous, even by today’s standards’ he remarks. Victoria exclaims that this is wonderful news, that it is exactly the kind of historical detail she has been looking for. She turns to her niece and tells Theresa that she hopes she doesn’t mind, but she must look at the diary. ‘Why don’t you take the Explorer, and I’ll meet you later’ Victoria suggests. Siryn holds up the car keys and smiles.

‘Ah, my aunt and her novels - who would ever think such a sweet woman could write with such enthusiasm about such grisly crimes’ Theresa thinks to herself as she drives the Explorer through a shady part of Looking Glass, and discovers an old house with the sign antiques against it. ‘Never noticed that antique shop before. Might as well stop in. I’ve got plenty of time on my hands’ Theresa decides. Moments later, she walks into the shop, reminding herself that is why she came up here, to recuperate somewhere where everything isn’t a life and death battle - a place where she can take some time to figure out what she is going to do with her life, whether her voice returns or not.

An old woman turns as Theresa enters: ‘Good day, miss. Welcome to the Looking Glass Antique Emporium. My name is Ophelia, please let me know if I can be of any assistance’ she announces. Taking a look around, Siryn picks up a ring. ‘Ah, a very nice choice. That belonged to the bride of a lumber magnate in the 1920’s. Unfortunately the poor thing was dismembered in a tragic accident at the mill’ Ophelia reveals, before telling Theresa that she doesn’t mean to be rude, but noticed the scars on her throat. ‘Perhaps you require something to attract attention away from your injury’ she remarks, picking up a gold necklace with a large red gem in the center.

Ophelia places the large necklace on Theresa’s neck, revealing that the exquisite piece was salvaged from the remains of a passenger liner sunk off the coast of North Africa during the war. The old woman quickly snaps the clasp shut on the necklace before Theresa can stop her. Then suddenly, the jewel around her neck begins to radiate an unearthly cold that freezes Theresa where she stands!

Back in San Francisco, while Cannonball darts around the Demon Bear, both Moonstar and Arcadia rub their heads. ‘I understand that the Bear would come after me…but why would it want you as well?’ Moonstar asks Arcadia. ‘You tell me. Ever since we met, that thing’s haunted my dreams - hunting me in snow-covered woods, in hospitals. If only it were still just a dream!’ Arcadia replies. Moonstar explains to Arcadia that the dreams she mentions are the locations where the Bear first attacked her. ‘How could you know -’ she begins, before announcing that she feels strange. ‘Something about our proximity makes our powers go haywire - I have to get away from you!’ Dani declares as quantum energy swirls around her.

The brash Arcadia exclaims that she doesn’t like it anymore than Moonstar does, but that she thinks they better learn how to live with it - ‘Assuming we survive!’ she exclaims as the Demon Bear suddenly turns his attention from Cannonball to that of Moonstar and Arcadia, The strange energy generated by Danielle and Arcadia inflames him like blood would a real bear. Only these two can slake the unearthly hunger and rage that have driven him to this place. At last, he will feed - as he picks up Arcadia, whom he early chased across the asphalt roads that spider-web this continent. ‘Dani - help!’ Arcadia calls out as she is lifted off the ground.

‘I’ve got you!’ Danielle cries out, leaping into the air, she latches on to Arcadia’s foot. ‘I don’t wanna end up as this ugly thing’s midday snack!’ Arcadia exclaims as the Bear lowers both young women towards his gaping mouth. Moonstar tells Arcadia to hang on, that Sam will be here in a moment. ‘I’m sorry…I can’t…I’m slipping!’ Arcadia declares as she struggles to hold onto the Demon Bear’s large claws. The Bear’s roar is the sound of thunder, and his breath, a furnace blast of desert hot wind. Escape is no longer an option. ‘NO!’ Cannonball screams as he blasts towards Danielle and Arcadia - too late - as they slip into the awaiting mouth of the Demon Bear.

Some say that when you die, your entire life flashes before your eyes. Oddly, as Danielle and Arcadia descend into the belly of the beast, they experience stroboscopic moments of the other’s life. Dani witnesses the unending battery of tests Arcadia endued as a test subject in the Damocles Foundation laboratories. Arcadia shares the isolation and anger Dani felt after her parent’s disappearance and her grandfather’s death…. Windows into each other’s innermost psyche open and close with machine-gun rapidity.

And all the while, they continue falling through the dark core of the supernatural beast until - finally - painfully - confusedly - they hit the bottom. ‘UNGHH -’ Moonstar exclaims as she lands on her back. ‘Okay…that’s an experience I hope I never repeat…’ Arcadia remarks, asking Danielle if she has any idea why they aren’t bear good. Moonstar stands up on what appears to be a ledge - it looks like they are in a cave. Dani explains to Arcadia that the Demon Bear is not actually really an animal, but the embodiment of an other-dimensional evil, that he is a link - a gateway - to that other dimension, which she supposes they are in now.

‘You make it sound so matter-of-fact. Does this stuff happen all the time to you?’ Arcadia asks. ‘Yeah, it does…’ Moonstar replies. ‘And I thought my life was screwed up. Well, I hope you know where the exit is in this place - ‘cause if you don’t, we could be here a long time’ Arcadia declares.

Meanwhile, in New York City: ‘Nice. Very nice’ smiles Selene, the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle. Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta, formerly of X-Force is being dressed in typical old-fashioned Hellfire Club attire, and tells Selene that he feels foolish, as he finds these Victorian affectations pretentious. Selene tells Bobby that he has to respect the Club’s tradition. But Bobby replies that he thinks it is pointless the Club insists its members dress up as if it is still Nineteenth Century England. ‘If you really want to change the Club, the first thing you could do is lose the Merchant Ivory wardrobe’ Bobby tells Selene.

But Selene tells Roberto that he is no longer the fiery upstart of X-Force, but now a Hellfire Club Rook, and must behave accordingly. ‘And, as my protégé, I expect you to trust that anything I ask you to do, I do so with good reason’ Selene adds. ‘Protégé? Hah. If you think I’m going to be your pawn, you’re mistaken. Our agreement insured my membership in the Hellfire Club. It didn’t buy my loyalty’ Bobby declares, while telling himself that he thinks he can do more damage to the Hellfire Club as a member than he ever could as a member of X-Force.

‘I’m introducing you to a world of power, Roberto. Don’t wast the opportunity’ Selene declares as she leaves the room. Bobby stares out the window into the pouring rain, thinking that he cannot believe he let Selene manipulate him into joining an organization that he loathes. ‘Who am I kidding? When she offered my Juliana a second chance at life, I couldn’t refuse - even though I can never be a part of my first love’s new life’.

Across town, a young woman looks out her window, troubled by questions she cannot answer. Why does the face in the mirror seem so unfamiliar after her accident. And why does she dream of a dark-haired Brazilian boy?

Elsewhere, Moonstar and Arcadia continue their trek through the strange realm. ‘You said the Bear chased you cross-country?’ Danielle asks. ‘From Detroit, anyway’ Arcadia replies. ‘And that was when it first appeared?’ Dani asks. ‘What’s with the fifth degree?’ the brash Arcadia snaps. ‘The Bear’s part of my past. I’m trying to determine why it came after you - and not me’ Dani explains.

Shown with flashback illustrations:

‘Something happened when we went to Brazil and combined our power to destroy the Celestial gatherer’ Arcadia explains, telling Dani that she, Sledge and Ulysses went back to Detroit, and the dreams of the Demon Bear became waking visions, until finally, the Bear became real, and nearly killed Sledge and Ulysses who were trying to protect her. ‘Knowing that I was the one it was after, I took Sledge’s old Camaros and headed west, ‘cause that’s where I knew you were’. Arcadia adds that she thought she might have lost the Bear, but once she reached the city, the Bear showed up bigger than life and twice as ugly.


‘Guess I made a mistake thinking you’d know how to kill this thing, huh?’ Arcadia mutters. DanI crouches to the rubble-covered ground and announces that she thinks she has found something, as she begins to brush away the stones. Standing back up, a confused Dani holds up a doll. ‘What’s a rag doll doing here?’ she asks, confused, before remarking that she is getting an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. ‘I know this doll. Her name’s Missy or Mandy…’ but suddenly, Arcadia snatches the doll from Moonstar: ‘Give her tome. She’s mind and her name’s Mary Weather, and -’ Moonstar interrupts: ‘Mary Weather - right - she was…this is weird that I know this…your childhood doll. And there was a dragon, too. And I right? Finster?’ she asks. ‘Fenwick’ Arcadia replies, while stroking the doll, she asks Moonstar how she knows any of this.

Moonstar replies that the connection between them seems to be growing the longer they are together, and asks Arcadia to tell her about Mary. ‘Look, um…I spent most of my childhood as the Damocles Foundation’s prized lab rat - Mary was the only doll they allowed me to keep. It was the last thing my mother gave to me before she disappeared’ Arcadia reveals.

Illustrative Image, narrated by Arcadia:

Arcadia reveals that while she was jumping through hoops for the Damocles lab coats, she used to imagine she was a brave explorer in the magical kingdom of Meridan - where she had all sorts of adventures with her two best friends, Mary Weather and Fenwick the Reluctant Dragon. ‘We’d find lost treasure and fight the minions of the evil Queen of the Star Swords who lived in the Dark Castle. I know it’s lame, but I was a kid…’.


Suddenly, Moonstar and Arcadia hear a strange noise and look up into the darkness. ‘What’s that sound? A helicopter?’ Arcadia asks. ‘No. Wings’ Moonstar exclaims before shouting ‘Brightwind!’ as a glorious Pegasus descends upon them. ‘My God, Dani. I’ve never seen such a beautiful animal!’ Arcadia exclaims. Moonstar tells Arcadia not to be afraid, and that Brightwind doesn’t let just anyone get close. ‘I know. You rescued him from a hunting party when you were transported to Asgard’ Arcadia replies.

‘I can’t believe you know that’ Danielle remarks. ‘Kind of spooky, huh?’ Arcadia remarks, while Dani declares that Brightwind will make exploring the caves much easier, and reaches out to him - but Brightwind neighs and pulls backwards, before taking to the air and flying off into the darkness. ‘I don’t understand. He’s acting like he doesn’t recognize me’ Dani declares, forlorn. ‘You have part of my power. Maybe that makes you smell different or give off a new vibe or something’ Arcadia suggests. ‘Or maybe that stallion’s not Brightwind at all. We’re in the Demon Bear’s world’ Danielle declares.

‘Oh, no, Dani Moonstar, you’re ever so wrong’ a voice calls out. ‘WHO -?’ Danielle exclaims. ‘All right. I’m seriously wigging out here’ Arcadia declares as she turns and sees the rag doll, Mary Weather, standing up. ‘Oh, ‘Cady, you’re not imagining things. It’s me, your old friend, Mary Weather’ the doll exclaims. ‘I’m here to help you because that’s what friends do for friends who’re in trouble’ Mary Weather announces. ‘Even if those friends abandoned them a long time ago’ she adds.

‘Abandoned?’ Arcadia exclaims. ‘Dr Chandra took you away from me when I was ten after I broken her CAT scan!’ she exclaims, adding that she cried for a week. ‘And then after a while, forgot about me and Fenwick and Meridan because you were too old for childish fantasies’ Mary Weather remarks. ‘Okay, the Demon Bear scares me, but this is just plain creepy. I’ve seen too many episodes of The Twilight Zone to be comfortable around a talking doll’ Arcadia frowns, while Moonstar remarks that she is sure there is an explanation for all this, although it may not be a logical one.

‘Yes, there is, Dani Moonstar. That’s why you two need me’ Mary Weather replies. ‘You see, the Bear is a nightmare that ‘Cady unknowingly made real - and who’s now feeding off the reality-changing power you two share. Just like the Bear, the collision of your subconscious minds gave me and Brightwind life’ Mary Weather explains, before announcing that the bad news is the longer the two of them are trapped here, the more difficult it is going to be to unmake the Bear.

Back in San Francisco, one member of X-Force’s part in the fight with the Demon Bear is watched with keen interest. Meltdown throws a plasma time bomb at the Demon Bear, while a man and a woman in black suits watch her and take photos from a nearby rooftop. ‘Beautiful. Look at how bravely Ms Smith stands up against her more powerful foe’ the man remarks. ‘You like them young, don’t you, Mr Wu?’ the woman replies, frowning. ‘I like them powerful, Miss Lloyd. And we need a third’ he tells her. ‘And if you can’t persuade her?’ Miss Lloyd asks. ‘Then we’ll put her in the box’ Mr Wu declares.

Meltdown calls out to Cannonball, telling him that she is throwing time bomb after time bomb at the Demon Bear, but he is shrugging them off like they were minor league heat. Sam tells Tabitha that when the New Mutants fought the first Demon Bear, it was vulnerable to fire, but this one seems immune to almost everything. ‘Not to mention it seems to have grown larger since it swallowed Dani and Arcadia’ Sam adds, before asking Tab if she thinks they are still alive. ‘I hope so...’ Tabitha replies.

Nearby, James has picked up a downed traffic light, and rushes towards the Demon Bear with it, hoping the current running through it will get the Bears’ attention - it does, and the Demon Bear swings around, knocking into a sign, which falls down towards James. But, the department store sign never touches the ground - it implodes midair, turning into a fine rain of metal and neon mist. ‘HUH?’ James exclaims, while an attractive woman clad in black appears behind him: ‘The least you could do is say thank you. As for the most you could do…? Well…it might begin with a kiss and end with being kicked out of a suite at the Ritz after the other guests complained about the noise’ she declares.

‘RISQUE!’ James exclaims, surprised. ‘Miss me?’ Risque asks. ‘I don’t think this is the time for a conversation, Gloria. As a matter of fact…get down!’ James exclaims, pushing Risque to safety as the Demon Beat is about to step on her. James tells Gloria that he doesn’t know what she is doing here, but that in case she has not noticed, they are in the middle of a crisis. ‘Call it a lucky coincidence, but as it turns out, I have a stake in seeing this bear muzzled, too. And did I mention how hot you look right now?’ Gloria smiles.

Bedlam tells his teammates that the Bear is not their only problem. ‘Blast. This is the last thing we need’ Sam exclaims. ‘Looks like someone called in the special forces’ Domino points out as they see a giant eighteen-wheeler truck speed towards them. Nothing on the truck identifies it as part of an elite urban crisis intervention team - until the cargo wall slides away to reveal a squadron of SHIELD agents, and a state of the art multi-phase plasma cannon. ‘All right, people, we’ve got our orders. Let’s make this thing wish it’d never been born!’ one of the SHIELD operatives remarks. ‘Locked and loaded’ another remarks as the plasma weapon lights up.

Cannonball declares that if the SHIELD team destroys the Bear they could lose their only chance of seeing Dani and Arcadia alive again. ‘We have to stop them!’ he exclaims. ‘You know me, Sam. I can disable the big gun. All I need is help getting up close and personal with it’ Bedlam declares. ‘Let’s do this like we did in Genosha!’ Sam exclaims as he picks up Bedlam and blasts towards the SHIELD truck. ‘You know what’s really scary, Guthrie? I’m beginning to like this crazy lifestyle -’ Bedlam begins, before he and Cannonball are struck down as thy approach the weapon.

Sam crashes into the ground, while Bedlam lands on his feet. ‘How’d you manage to land on your feet?’ Tabitha asks him. ‘Martial arts training in a box’ Bedlam replies, before asking what they ran into. ‘An ultrasonic wall. That first shot was a warning’ one of the SHIELD agents announces, pointing his weapon at Sam, Tabitha, Domino and Bedlam, informing them that this is a SHIELD operation and they are to stay out of the way. Domino tells him to listen to her as she informs him that two people could lose their lives if SHIELD starts firing at the Bear, and that one of them is an ex-SHIELD operative. ‘I have my orders. If you or any of your team tries to interfere, you will be shot!’ comes the reply.

At that moment, ‘This is the heart of the Bear’ Mary Weather announces, as Danielle and Arcadia look up at a swirling glowing energy. Mary Weather explains that it is the source of the Bear’s unnatural existence, the sum of all the power it has taken from the two of them. ‘You see, Dani, Arcadia was able to awake in you the ability to repair or disrupt matter at a subatomic level…because she can warp the fabric of reality into myriad variations. You have to reclaim this energy from the Bear’ Mary Weather declares. ‘Never imagined I’d be taking the advice of a talking doll. But it sounds right to me’ Moonstar remarks, asking Arcadia if she is up for this. ‘Never really tried to undo something I made before - I wish I could’ve started on something smaller’ Arcadia replies.

Moonstar tells her to follow her lead, to concentrate, and pull the energy back into them. Both women glow blue and sparkle, as they draw the energy down to them. Arcadia replies that she thinks she has got it, while Dani exclaims that it is working as the cave is becoming less substantial, more like a ghostly mirage. But Arcadia announces that she is not feeling so good, that something is wrong. ‘I don’t think I can contain this much power…I can’t control it…I have to let it go…’ she declares. ‘Oh my goodness gracious!’ Mary Weather gasps, and covers her eyes.

At that moment, the Demon Bear goes crazy, primal chaos unleashed from the heart of it begins to tear it asunder. Within the creature the combined unfettered energies of Dani Moonstar and Arcadia DeVille are merging in a violent quantum and psychic convergence. Flesh and bone, thought and memory, begin to fragment and intermingle as reality warps and bends. In the space of seconds, the Demon Bear is wiped from existence - once again nothing more than a dark and disturbing memory. What emerges in its place is unfortunately equally troubling….

‘What the -?’ James asks. ‘Wow!’ Risque exclaims. ‘Interesting’ Mr Wu remarks as he and Mss Lloyd continue to observe. ‘Definitely’ Miss Lloyd agrees. One of the SHIELD agents orders another to call for back up, while the rest of X-Force exclaim ‘Dani - are - you - all right?’, as standing before them in the swirling mist, Danielle Moonstar has split into four! New Mutants Moonstar! Asgardian Moonstar! Mutant Liberation Front Moonstar! Current Cosmically-powered Moonstar!

Some days, nothing goes as planned.

Characters Involved: 

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

Siryn & Sunspot (former members of X-Force)


Arcadia DeVille

Juliana Sandoval


Demon Bear


Mary Weather

Miss Lloyd & Mr Wu (both Triune Understand)

Victoria Donnely (Siryn’s aunt)

Bradbury Collins




SHIELD Operatives

In Illustrative Flashback Images:

Cannonball, Magik, Magma, Mirage II, Sunspot, Wolfsbane (all New Mutants)

William Lonestar & Peg Moonstar

Tom Corsi & Sharon Friedlander

Demon Bear

In Illustrative Flashback Images:





Demon Bear

In Arcadia’s Fantasy:

Arcadia as a child

Mary Weather the doll

Fenwick the dragon

Story Notes: 

The Demon Bear last appeared in New Mutants (1st series) #20, though Moonstar briefly saw him in X-Force (1st series) #96.

Indeed, Meltdown did not join the New Mutants until New Mutants (1st series) #76.

Moonstar’s flashback refers to the events of the classic New Mutants (1st series) #18-20.

Moonstar learned Arcadia was dreaming about the Demon Bear in X-Force (1st series) #97.

X-Force dealt with the Damocles Foundation in X-Force (1st series) #97.

Selene manipulated Sunspot into joining the Hellfire Club in X-Force (1st series) #98.

Jennifer Kale first aided X-Force in X-Force (1st series) #85, and has been keeping in contact with Moonstar since then, helping her adjust to her new powers.

Arcadia’s hair has inexplicably returned to brown with this issue, after she appeared with blonde hair her last appearance, X-Force (1st series) #97, possibly a coloring error.

Feral slashed Siryn’s throat in X-Force (1st series) #90, leaving her powerless and unable to speak. Siryn quit X-Force in X-Force (1st series) #91.

Moonstar and Arcadia met in X-Force (1st series) #84, which is when they touched and Moonstar developed her quantum powers.

Sunspot was manipulated into joining the Hellfire Club in X-Force (1st series) #97-98.

Juliana Sandoval’s soul was placed into the body of a dead girl in X-Force (1st series) #98.

The events Arcadia refer to with the Celestial golem occurred in X-Force (1st series) #97.

Brightwind was Moonstar’s steed as a member of the Valkryor in Asgard. Upon their return to Earth [behind the scenes, after New Mutants (1st series) #87, before X-Force (1st series) #27] Brightwind became Darkwind, and was later killed by Reignfire in X-Force (1st series) #43.

Risque was last seen (sort of) in X-Force (1st series) #81.

Bedlam learned martial arts training from the box given to him in Genosha [X-Force (1st series) #94-95].

Issue Information: 
Written By: