X-Force (3rd series) #18

Issue Date: 
October 2009
Story Title: 
Not Forgotten: Part Two

Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost (writers), Mike Choi & Sonia Oback (artists), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer and producer), Jody LeHeup (assistant editor), John Barber & Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Warpath saves Boom-Boom from being raped and murdered by two Facility agents. Domino arrives at the source of the energy eruption in New York City and finds Wolverine and Archangel carrying Hellion, Surge and Elixir, all of whom survived thanks to Elixir’s healing powers and Hellion’s telekinesis. Agent Morales accompanies the captive X-23 back to H.A.M.M.E.R., but when she arrives, she discovers her colleague Agent Young actually works for the Facility and that they have just delivered X-23 into the hands of Facility agents Adam Harkins and Kimura. In Colorado, Wolfsbane and Hrimhari fight the Frost Giants, while near Salem Center in New York City, Caliban leads Eli Bard and Wither to the burial site of Douglas Ramsey, whom they resurrect using the T/O Virus. Back at Graymalkin Industries, Beast tends to the unconscious Surge and Elixir. Wolverine attacks Cyclops for sending them to the future before they were ready and informs him that if any of the young mutants die, it is his fault. After debriefing them on what happened with Cable, he sets off to find X-23 with the help of Boom-Boom’s limited intel. Meanwhile, Kimura tortures the captive X-23 and cuts off one of her arms with a chainsaw.

Full Summary: 

New York City. One hour ago…

H.A.M.M.E.R. agent Jebediah Young watches while his colleague Alisanda Morales loads the incapacitated X-23 into a transport ship. Using the communications device in his ear, he patches through to Delta Team, who remain at the Sapien League warehouse. Young gives them the signal to dispose of the mutant and burn down the warehouse. He instructs them to leave no witnesses and no evidence—other than a genetic sample from the mutant girl.

Agents Ryan and Mick receive the orders. Mick, leering at the drug-addled Boom-Boom, asks if she heard the orders too. It’s all over, he tells her. Tabitha tells him to go to hell. Mick lifts her by the throat and pins her against the wall; who’s to say they shouldn’t have a little bit of fun first? “Kill you…” Tabitha mutters.

Agent Ryan turns his back on his accomplice and asks him to make it quick. A moment later, he hears a strange noise, followed by Mick gasping. Ryan turns back to Mick and Boom-Boom and tells Mick he should probably get undressed first. At this point, however, he notices a bowie knife protruding from the base of Mick’s neck—but fails to notice the looming figure approaching from his blindside. Mick, his blood splattered all over the wall and Tabitha’s face, utters a few final strained syllables. “Whoa…” Tabitha says.

Finally, Agent Ryan senses someone standing behind him. He turns and beholds the towering frame of James Proudstar, the X-Force member known as Warpath. He immediately goes into apology mode. He swears he never touched the girl—he would never do such a thing—and it wasn’t even his idea! He was just following orders, he pleads. He begs for Warpath to spare his life. James lowers himself to Agent Ryan’s eye level and pauses for a moment. “No,” he says.

He grabs the sniveling H.A.M.M.E.R. agent and hurls him through one of the large wooden doors inside the warehouse, impaling him on the loose, jagged boards. With both threats extinguished, James hurries over to Tabitha and gently lowers her to the floor. Is she okay? As she slips out of consciousness, she tells Jimmy she knew everything would be okay once she saw him. She then falls asleep in his arms.

At that moment, James receives an incoming message from Domino. Before they have a chance to clarify anything, however, a bright green light pours in through the warehouse windows. Warpath, fully aware of what this light entails, holds up his hand to protect his eyes.

The United Nations…

While the citizens of New York City run from the blinding, ever-expanding green light, Neena Thurman, a.k.a. Domino, runs in the opposite direction. She pushes her way through the surge of civilians, many of them anti-mutant protestors, in hopes of arriving at the source of the energy fluctuation in time to save the lives of her fellow mutants. Suddenly, she stops in her tracks.

“Are you gonna help, or just stare?” Wolverine asks. “These punks are heavy.” Archangel, standing next to Wolverine, holds the limp body of Julian Keller in his arms. The sleeping Surge and Elixir lay at his feet, their arms wrapped around each other.

Domino snaps out of her stupor. “I was expecting a little more tragedy,” she says. “What happened?” Wolverine explains that Elixir stepped up and burned the virus out of Hellion. He did the same to Surge, but her powers were already too amped up. To put it simply, she popped. Domino knows that already; she saw the light show. She asks if Wolverine stabbed her.

“Cute. But no. It was Keller,” Logan says. He tells her Hellion managed to funnel the blast into the sky using his telekinesis. After that, he passed out. Domino admits that isn’t bad for a junior X-Man. Archangel, meanwhile, insists they move out immediately. He can carry two of the kids, he says. Lucky for them, Domino has a safehouse nearby they can use to rendezvous with James. Wolverine notices Domino hasn’t mentioned X-23 and asks where she is.

Pennsylvania airspace. Now…

Inside the H.A.M.M.E.R. transport jet, Agent Morales sits and stares at the captive X-23. Although she had seen pictures of her before, they couldn’t prepare her for the realization that X-23 is, in fact, just a kid. Agent Young insists she isn’t a kid, but a weapon. Ali notices her starting to regain consciousness. Jebediah says it doesn’t matter, since they’re landing in five minutes.

On the ground, while the H.A.M.M.E.R. grunts carry X-23 out of the plane, Ali admits to Agent Young that she didn’t realize S.H.I.E.L.D. had such impressive resources. She’d be surprised, he tells her—and reminds her they aren’t S.H.I.E.L.D. “Right, H.A.M.M.E.R. I keep forgetting,” she says. Agent Young reveals that isn’t what he meant.

Suddenly, Agent Morales looks around the room and realizes she doesn’t recognize anything. What’s happening? What is this place? At that moment, the barely conscious X-23 lifts her head and beholds a pair of people she never wanted to see again. “Welcome to the Facility, Agent Morales,” says Adam Harkins. Behind him stands Kimura, X-23’s malicious former trainer, who offers Laura a hearty ‘welcome home’ while suggestively extending her tongue. X-23 glares at her, too horrified to say anything.

The Colorado Rocky Mountains…

Wolfsbane and Hrimhari, both in lupine forms, run from the three attacking Frost Giants through the snowy forests of Colorado. Hrimhari suddenly stops in his tracks, pivots to face the approaching monsters and shifts to his transitional form. The Wolf Prince urges his love, Rahne, to go. He will keep the giants at bay as long as possible.

The nearest Frost Giant strikes at Hrimhari with his massive spear. Dodging the attack, the Wolf Prince leaps onto the body of the spear and sprints up its diagonal surface. Before the giant has time to shake him off, Hrimhari arrives at the top of the spear, leaps at the Frost Giant’s face and slashes him across the eye.

From down below, Wolfsbane warns Hrimhari to watch out. He heeds her warning just in time to leap out of the way of the approaching axe-blow from another Frost Giant. The axe blade instead finds its target in the throat of the maimed Frost Giant. It gasps as the blood pours out of its throat. Hrimhari, meanwhile, leaps down to the snowy forest floor. He urges Rahne to flee. She refuses. She is through with running. She is no longer afraid of who or what she is—and she definitely won’t leave without Hrimhari. Very well then, Hrimhari says as they lock eyes with the two remaining Frost Giants. If that is what she wishes, then tonight, live or die, they fight together!

Salem Center. New York…

Fog rolls through the darkened cemetery in Salem Center. A figure illuminated only by moonlight approaches one of the headstones and lays his ashen hands on it. “This is the first, my master,” the deceased mutant Caliban says as he slumps over the headstone. Veins of techno-organic circuitry run through his body. Eliphas, the source of Caliban’s T/O virus infection, rolls back a sleeve as he approaches the grave. Behind him stands Selene’s young accomplice Kevin Ford, the former resident of Xavier’s School known as Wither.

“Now… it begins now,” Eli Bard says as he plunges his T/O virus infected arm into the grave of Douglas Ramsey.

Graymalkin Industries. San Francisco…

Cyclops watches from the observation deck as Beast makes tends to the three injured mutants in the medical ward. He asks Beast if they will be all right. None of them have even a mark on their bodies, Hank informs Cyclops. Additionally, Julian has reverted to his normal, angry self and is currently recovering in his room. Hank thinks Noriko will recover just fine. She’s exhausted and her body is depleted, but in time, she should be fine. As for Josh, however, Beast has no idea. After all, Josh can control his own body’s biology, which leaves Hank confused as to why he hasn’t yet recovered. He suspects Elixir is merely suffering from over-exertion. In the past, after all, Josh has lost consciousness after using his powers over their capacity. Regardless, he’s alive, and that’s a start.

Up on the observation deck, Cyclops breathes a sigh of relief and thanks god. “No. Not yet,” a voice says from behind. Before Scott has a chance to turn and face him, Wolverine lunges at him, grabs him by the torso and sends them both crashing through the glass of the observation deck’s window. Beast barks at them, but Cyclops assures him everything is okay. He speaks too soon, though. Wolverine leaps on top of him, pins him to the floor and unsheathes the outermost claws of his left hand around Scott’s neck. “It’s about as far from ‘okay’ as you can get, boss man,” Wolverine shouts in his face. “I told you to wait! You signed their death warrants without batting an eye! If either of them dies, it’s on you.”

“I know,” Cyclops says. Wolverine glares at him for a moment, then reaches down and helps him off the ground. He tells him that both Hope and Cable are alive. Not sure what he means by ‘Hope’, Cyclops asks for further clarification, but Logan interrupts. He claims things went a little south when Stryfe and Apocalypse arrived. Although it got messy, the girl emerged from it intact.

Cyclops asks him to slow down and back up a bit. Beast shares the same sentiments; are they saying they saw the baby? He asks how she was and if she exhibited any powers. Correcting him on two points, Wolverine first states she wasn’t a baby—she’s about nine years old, and second, he didn’t catch anything about her powers. However, Elixir might. The kid healed and said he knew what she was, but put himself into a coma saving their lives. If he wakes up, they can ask him.

With that, Wolverine walks out of the room. Cyclops asks where he’s going. “Laura’s missing,” Logan says. “So you better hope she’s okay too.”

In a meeting room, Warpath, Domino and Boom-Boom watch the news reports from the incident at the United Nations. The reporter states that no deaths were reported in the attack. Witnesses, meanwhile, blame the attack on a mutant girl seen at the site. In response, the general assembly plans to vote on the creation of Bolivar Trask’s Mutant Response Division immediately.

“That is a load of crap!!” Tabitha Smith shouts at the screen. James asks her to focus. “Focus? Do you even know who I am?” Boom-Boom snaps at him. Domino asks her to just tell them what happened. “Look, I was shopping, and the next thing I knew some Jason Voorhies looking chick was holding a gun to my head.” James asks if she heard anything, or smelled anything. “What? Do I look like a dog? You need to—wait,” Tabitha says. “I did. I mean, not smell… I remember… there was a girl. Some military guys. HATE… no, that’s not right. S.H.I.E.L.D. Some chick said ‘Division C’, I think. And then they took the girl.”

Domino eyes Wolverine as he enters the room. S.H.I.E.L.D. has no ‘Division C’, she says. Wolverine suggests they tell Warren to get ready and get the Cuckoos into Cerebra right away.

Location Unknown…

The noise of a chainsaw penetrates the darkness and the silence. X-23 opens her eyes and beholds the smiling, blood-spattered face of Kimura. “There’s my girl,” Kimura says. Laura looks at her with tears in her eyes and asks her to stop. “I missed you, too,” Kimura says.

On the ground, Laura’s left arm rests in a growing pool of blood. She hangs by her right arm from a chain. Kimura is so glad she is awake; she feared X-23 might miss the whole show! Once more, Laura asks her not to do this, but Kimura fires up the chain saw, licks her teeth, and tells X-23 she has been a bad girl.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Domino, Elixir, Wolfsbane, Wolverine, X-23 (X-Force)

Beast, Cyclops (X-Men)

Boom-Boom, Hellion, Surge

Hrimhari (former Wolf Prince of Asgard)

Agent Morales (H.A.M.M.E.R.)

Kimura (The Facility)

Adam Harkins (The Facility)

Agent Jebediah Young (The Facility)

Agent Mick, Agent Ryan (The Facility)

Eli Bard, Wither (agents of Selene)

Caliban (deceased mutant)

Frost Giants of Asgard

Stephen Lang, Bolivar Trask (minions of Bastion)
CCN Reporter

Story Notes: 

In celebration of Marvel’s 70th Anniversary, this issue also has a Frame Variant Cover by artist Jason Levesque.

This issue reveals that Agent Jebediah Young—and all the H.A.M.M.E.R. agents seen in the past two issues, for that matter—are actually agents of The Facility.

The Facility is an offshoot of the Weapon X program that focused on creating clones of Wolverine. Laura Kinney, a female clone of Wolverine given the name X-23 because she was the 23rd attempt to clone him, was created by the Facility. Unlike Wolverine, X-23 does not have an adamantium skeleton, hence Kimura’s ability to sever her arm at the end of this issue.

Kimura first appeared in NEW X-MEN (2nd series) #31. Her first chronological appearance, however, was in X-23: TARGET X #1, where she served as X-23’s at The Facility. X-23 escaped The Facility after the events of that miniseries, but Kimura tracked her to Xavier’s Institute for Higher Learning in NEW X-MEN (2nd series) #33, where she proceeded to kidnap the student Mercury for experimentation. In NEW X-MEN (2nd series) #36, after the New X-Men freed Mercury, Kimura returned to the school to assassinate X-23. Emma Frost thwarted her attempt, erased her only good memory and, after some mental reprogramming, sent her to assassinate the other members of The Facility. This issue is Kimura’s first appearance since that incident. Obviously she failed to accomplish the mission Emma gave her.

Like Kimura, Adam Harkins first appeared in NEW X-MEN (2nd series) #31 as one of the Facility’s scientists.

Caliban, a mutant with the ability to track other mutants, died in NEW X-MEN (2nd series) #45. Eli Bard brought him back from the dead using the Techno-Organic Virus and presented him to Selene in X-FORCE (3rd series) #11.

Douglas Ramsey, also known as Cypher, was mutant who had the power to understand and translate any language. An early member of the original New Mutants, Cypher was killed when he pushed his teammate Wolfsbane out of the way of the Ani-Mator’s gunfire in NEW MUTANTS (1st series) #60.

Eli Bard’s reasons for aiding Selene were outlined in X-FORCE (3rd series) #11.

Apart from a barely recognizable cameo appearance in X-FORCE (3rd series) #11, this is the first appearance of Wither since NEW X-MEN (2nd series) #32, when he ran away from Xavier’s Institute and encountered Selene. Wither, whose real name is Kevin Ford, is a mutant with the uncontrollable power to disintegrate matter he touches into dust. In his first appearance in NEW MUTANTS (2nd series) #3, Wither revealed that he accidentally killed his father with his powers. During his time at Xavier’s, he deeply feared his powers would harm his friends—especially his crush Wallflower. Immediately after M-Day, Wither, assuming he also lost his powers, excitedly grabbed Wallflower by the arm and was horrified to see it wither away before his eyes. He ran away from the Xavier Institute in NEW X-MEN (2nd series) #22 after hearing his remaining teammates discussing the danger his powers posed.

One of the headstones in the cemetery bears the name “Kyle Yost”, an amalgam of X-FORCE series writers Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost.

Cyclops sent X-Force into the future against their will in X-FORCE (3rd series) #13. Wolverine’s comments about Cable, Hope, Stryfe and Apocalypse summarize the events of the Messiah War crossover, which occurred between X-FORCE/CABLE: MESSIAH WAR #1, CABLE (2nd series) #13-15 and X-FORCE (3rd series) #14-16.

Boom-Boom and Warpath were both founding members of the “original” X-Force and served on the team together for almost its entire duration.

Boom-Boom mistakenly refers to the organization H.A.T.E. (Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort), which was her employer during the twelve-issue series NEXTWAVE. This reference is especially significant because of the ongoing debate amongst fans and creators as to whether the events of NEXTWAVE occurred in Marvel-616 continuity or not.

Boom-Boom’s comment about “some Jason Voorhies looking chick” refers to the Leper Queen, who wore a facemask reminiscent of the hockey mask worn by antagonist Jason Voorhies in the Friday the 13th slasher film series.

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