X-Force (2nd series) #5

Issue Date: 
February 2005
Story Title: 

Fabian Nicieza (writer), Rob Liefeld (pencils), Matt Yackey (colors), VC’s Rus Wooton (letters), Stephanie Moore & Sean Ryan (assistant editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Stryfe reveals who “he” is. Stryfe is, in fact, an alternate futuristic version of Domino, who has come to this timeline to make sure that the Skornn dies for good this time. Domino offers an alliance between X-Force and the Mutant Liberation Front for the greater good. Everyone accepts and move over to the battlefield. Meanwhile, the Skornn has teleported into Manhattan. After eating many guests at a Hellfire Club party, the Skornn decides to move over to the people of Manhattan itself. Luckily for the citizens, help arrives! The Human Torch and the Thing try to defeat the Skornn, but unfortunately aren’t strong enough. X-Force and the MLF arrive on the scene, and they are ready for action! Meanwhile in outer space, the Imperial Guard also gets word about the Skornn’s reappearance. They too see the Skornn as a treat, and wish to gather all three hundred Imperial Guard members to defeat it.

Full Summary: 

The Imperial Guard has received a message that there was a threat in the Tellarian Expanse, a part of the Shi’Ar Empire, which separates the warring Skrull Empire from the Shi’Ar Imperium. A band of Warskrulls attempted to smuggle weapons into Shi’Ar territory. But the Imperial Guard make quick word of the villains and knock them all out with ease. But more problems arise at the horizon.

The Gladiator receives an incoming message from the Praetor. As the Guardians fly back to their mother ship, Smasher suspects that the Phoenix Force is attacking again. The Gladiator knows otherwise and realizes that what the Shi’Ar has feared has come true: the Skornn has returned! The Shi’Ar scientists confirm this. Gladiator wants all three hundred Imperial Guards members gathered for a massive attack, despite the fact that the Shi’Ar has a non-aggression treaty with Earth at the moment. Gladiator wants that his orders are fulfilled and also plans to contact Majestrix Lilandra about the situation.

Meanwhile on Earth, outside the doors of a Hellfire Club satellite office, the Skornn and one of the Helix members materialize. The villains panic the people, who all run away into safety. The Skornn knows that mutants are present, but in hiding. The Helix confirms, and explains to the Skornn what he has learned from the history vides about the Hellfire Club: that it is a century old association for the aristocracy and that the leadership of the Club exists out of mutants. The Helix opens his eyes wide, and finds out that there’s a party going on inside the Hellfire Club, for young people reaching adulthood.

The Skornn refuses to wait any longer and jumps through the Club’s window inside it and attacks the guests. The Skornn eats them all, but still hasn’t enough. The Helix promises to bring the Skornn as many mutants as he needs, if that makes him help safe their future, before Nathan Summers finds out what it takes to kill the Skornn.

Cable and his X-Force team stare at the just-arrived Mutant Liberation Front. Cable tells Stryfe that there is no reason for them to fight. Stryfe replies that they’ve got every reason to fight, but doesn’t want to fight him today. Shatterstar defends Cable, but Stryfe commands Shatterstar to stay down or else he’ll kill him. But Stryfe realizes that won’t serve the greater goal.

Hearing this, Cable realizes that this Stryfe isn’t the original one. That Stryfe’s body was ash, and his soul dust. Cable asks Stryfe who he is. Stryfe says that he’s a friend, if Cable will have him. And an ally too, Stryfe adds, because Cable will need him. Cable wants to know how Stryfe was able to recruit Cannonball, Sunspot and Spectre. Stryfe claims by telling them the truth, something that Cable was never good at.

Cable is confused, since he did tell them about the mission, and about the menace that Skornn is. And it was Spectre who convinced Sam and Roberto not to believe him. Stryfe says that he pretty much told Cannonball and Sunspot the same thing. Cable doesn’t see why they believed that Stryfe’s story was real. Stryfe says that’s because, unlike Spectre, the villain could confirm what Cable had to say and also tell them things that he wouldn’t. Things about tomorrow. About how the Skornn could come to dominate the coming days. Stryfe told them about their struggle for life and death. Theirs, and his. With this, Stryfe takes off his helmet and reveals his true identity!

But, that can’t be according to Cable, because Stryfe died in his arms! And Stryfe remembers Cable’s final words: “I’m sorry.” And Stryfe died angry at Cable, because those weren’t the words Stryfe wanted to here. Cable can’t understand how Stryfe can be… DOMINO?!

The hair is gray. The eye patch has lost its inky darkness. The skin is an even paler shade of white. But she, Stryfe, really is Domino. Cable’s trusted ally and only friend. A future version of herself. Which is quite confusing to the time-traveling soldier, since in his memory… Domino never lived long enough to reach that future! “Surprise,” Domino says. Cable thinks about an alternate timeline from the one he experienced. One in which she didn’t die, and the Skornn defeated and killed him, making him force her to assume the mantle of responsibility and, in her timeline, Domino won, or lost. Either way, Cable guesses that Domino came here to confirm that the Skornn doesn’t succeed.

He asks if he’s correct. “Yes,” “no” and “maybe,” Domino replies. Cable wants to know where she got the Stryfe armor. Domino tells Cable that he gave it to her as a gift. Cable wants to know why Domino’s skin is white now, since it wasn’t before. Domino answers that she was using a holographic masking shield. Cable notices it, and that she looks taller now, too. When Domino asks Cable if that bothers her, Cable admits that he actually kind of likes it.

Cable asks Domino if she knows that the Helix have come back to regenerate the Skornn. Domino suspected that the Helix would try that. All she knew for certain was that a temporal juncture was a perfect storm of activity. She explains that it was a watershed moment in the history of countless timelines. Actions taken – or not taken – could save or damn mutants and humans for countless generations. Domino reveals that she came here knowing what she knew and, wearing this armor, in order to recruit allies to the cause. She wanted the kind of warriors who they both knew would never followed Cable in battle otherwise. Domino wants Cable and his team to step over to her.

Cable wants to know if the MLF will still follow Domino now that they’ve seen who she is. Domino knew that she had to convince Cable quickly, since they don’t have any time to waste. But, just in case, Domino asks Cable to erase the MLF members of what they have just seen. And also to prevent this timeline’s Domino from knowing the truth about her. Cable doesn’t know if he can do that, since his telepathy and telekinesis have severely weakened lately. He suggests that he can try a telepathic push, something very primitive, like he did with Cannonball during their battle. Cable will do that in a minute, after they all have taken their minds off of what they have just seen.

Cable proudly raises the Five Fingers of Annihilation into the air and gives a speech to both X-Force and the Mutant Liberation Front. He says that the only hope for their people, and for the entire civilization rest with two things: the blade he holds, and all of them! Cable wants that they all work together for a mutual goal: their survival! Cable admits that some might die; others will live to see another day. But if they won’t fight, Cable knows that they will die alone. Cable knows that Stryfe knows this, that’s why the alliance between their two groups have been offered.

Cable stops talking, and telepathically enters everyone’s mind and commands them to forget what they have seen. The plan works, and Cable and “Stryfe” both shake hands. Spectre says that they understand the greater goal, but that doesn’t mean that they trust Cable. Cannonball admits that he won’t go as far as Spectre would, but says that knowing what he knows now, about all the tragedy that awaits them, Sam just wants Cable to know that they won’t fight to die some heroic death, no, they will fight to survive! Meltdown doesn’t think that anyone would have it any other way. Zero opens a teleportation portal and everyone steps through it, including Wolverine and Deadpool.

Meanwhile, back in Manhattan, the Thing and the Human Torch have come to the rescue. It’s clobberin’ time for the two famous heroes as they jump at the Skornn the second they see him. Ben grabs the Skornn from behind and outbalances him for a while, and Johnny next tries a flame attack in an attempt to harm Skornn. The Skornn is stronger than that and not harmed one scratch! The Skornn grabs both Ben and Johnny and throws them into the air! As they stand up, the cavalry has arrived. X-Force and the Mutant Liberation Front stand ready. Wolverine jokingly asks the Thing if he maybe needs a hand, claw or sword?!

Characters Involved: 

Cable, Caliban, Meltdown, Shatterstar (all X-Force)

Wolverine (X-Man)

Gladiator, Fang V, Flashfire, Smasher, Oracle (all Imperial Guard)

Stryfe II/Domino (alternate version)

Cannonball, Forearm, Spectre, Sumo, Sunspot, Thumbelina, Zero and one unclear member (all Mutant Liberation Front)

Human Torch II, the Thing (all Fantastic Four)


the Skornn

one Helix member (unnamed)

Admiral Ya’Lont and various other unnamed Shi’Ar pilots

several Warskrulls (unnamed)

various celebrators at the Hellfire Club (unnamed)

various scared citizens of Manhattan (unnamed)

Story Notes: 

The Superguardians have changed their group name again into the Imperial Guard. They were called the Superguardians throughout New X-Men #122-126 and some of the members revered back to their original costumes as well.

Though this issue reveals why Stryfe is back, it doesn’t do the same thing for other MLF members Forearm, Sumo and Zero, who had all died in previous appearances.

There is one member of the Liberation Front who isn’t quite clear who he/she is. The character resembles either Dragoness or Tempo.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: