X-Force (3rd series) #27

Issue Date: 
July 2010
Story Title: 
Second Coming: Chapter 9

Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost (writers), Mike Choi (penciler), Sonia Oback (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Adi Granov (cover artist), David Finch, Matt Banning & Peter Steigerwald (variant cover artists), Jody LeHeup (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Nick Lowe (consulting editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

The X-Men manage to stave off the five attacking Nimrod units on the Golden Gate Bridge, but at great cost: Hellion loses his hands and Iceman suffers third degree burns all over his body. Later, as the X-Men assess the situation, they learn from Prodigy and Beast that Bastion is pulling Nimrod units from a timeline in which mutants were eradicated—and has at least 170,000 more units in reserve. With defeat imminent, Cyclops decides to send Cypher to the future via Cable’s time-travel machinery to rewrite the Nimrods’ central computer, using X-Force as escorts. At this point, the rest of the X-Men learn of X-Force’s existence. Later, Cable and Hope say their goodbyes. X-Force departs just as the next wave of five Nimrods arrives. Only then does Cyclops reveal the extent of what he has done: since Cable’s time-travel device only had one trip left, he essentially just sent X-Force and his son to their deaths.

Full Summary: 

On San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, under the blood-red dome surrounding the city, the X-Men, standing dangerously close to the temporal sphere in the center of the bridge, fight for their lives. Out of the temporal disruption emerged five Nimrod units bent on their destruction, leaving the X-Men no choice but to hold their ground.

Cyclops, Surge and Hellion fire their energy attacks at the units circling the sky. Namor, acting as a bullet, propels himself off the concrete and directly through one of the Nimrods. Its allied unit counters this by knocking Namor out of the sky. He plummets to the ground amidst a spray of his own blood.

On the surface of the bridge, Colossus rips the arm off one of the deadly Sentinels while Magma takes her fiery fists to its face. Their young peer, Armor, takes the opportunity to crawl away from the fracas and recover. Despite having a full-body shield that grants her invulnerability, smears off blood adorn her battered face.

Nearby, Psylocke rends a Nimrod unit in two using her telekinesis. Behind her, her fellow telekinetic Hellion vaults Wolverine through the air in their version of a Fastball Special. While Wolverine soars toward his target, however, a different Nimrod unit sets its sights on Hellion and fires an energy attack at his hands. The attack meets its mark; Hellion’s disintegrate. In agony, he screams and falls to the ground, his former hands nothing but smoking stumps. Behind him, X-23 watches in dismay.

Up the in the air, meanwhile, Wolverine reaches his target. While he slashes away at one Nimrod, another unit approaches from his six—unbeknownst to him. Moments before it can incapacitate him, however, its head jerks back with the force of a high-powered bullet. It seems Wolverine has a protector on the shore of the bridge who wields a sniper- rifle: Domino, his X-Force teammate.

Elsewhere on the bridge, Rogue, wielding the powers of Angel and Colossus, plunges her fists into one Nimrod unit and knocks it over the edge of the bridge. While her fist tears a hole in its head, it counters by ripping one of the feathered wings from her back. She falls screaming into the water below, a fountain of blood erupting from her shoulder blade as she goes.

Things continue looking dire for the X-Men on the bridge. Armor, doused in flames, struggles to crawl away from an approaching Nimrod unit. Iceman comes to her rescue and fires a beam of his signature attack at the immediate threat. It manages to counter and hit him with an energy attack that neutralizes his powers and sear his flesh.

Namor, meanwhile, continues smashing away at a Nimrod unit on the bridge. His furious fists repeatedly make contact with its cranium.

Nearby, Cyclops manages to blast yet another unit out of the sky, while behind him, Surge writhes on the ground in pain.

The X-Men eventually prove victorious against these five Nimrod units, but at great cost. While Surge cradles the seemingly lifeless body of Julian Keller, X-23 mourns. Archangel, meanwhile, fishes Rogue’s limp body out of the river. Magma and Armor come to the aid of the badly burned Bobby Drake. Not ten feet from their position, a downed Nimrod unit reports back to its mother computer. “Receiving transmission…contact made,” the unit reports in binary. “Nimrod-class scouting party 4-924 has successfully completed the chronal jump.”

This message soon reaches its destination: Bastion, the Master Mold and Nimrod amalgamation. At one of his various headquarters, Bastion stands hooked on an altar to his various communications devices. He reports to his subordinated that the portal is active and initiates his uplink. His subordinate Graydon Creed admits he doesn’t quite understand what this means; he whispers to Steven Lang for clarification. Lang tells him not to be so stupid. Bastion is wired into their minds, after all; whispering is pointless. Honestly, though, Lang thought Creed would have figured it out by now. There exists somewhere a future in which humanity wins. Bastion is merely bringing that future to their present.

Bastion, meanwhile, makes contact with the computers on the other side of the wormhole. Having detected multiple mutant targets, the computer begins preparing counter-measures.

Back on Utopia, Cyclops asks Beast for a damage report. Beast reports that Iceman has third degree burns over 25 percent of his body. Hellion’s hands, meanwhile, are completely gone, including most of one forearm. The city is well past panic, but they at least have military and police cooperation. Everyone is at risk, Hank says—mutant and human alike. Whatever’s coming, the people of San Francisco know the X-Men are their only chance.

Emma Frost tells Scott that the Cuckoos are in contact with the contingent of X-Men he left on the bridge. “If more Sentinels appear,” she begins to say. Cyclops interrupts her.

“Not if. When, Emma,” he says. Finishing her thought, Emma tells him they’ll probably know about it instantly.

Turning now to Prodigy and Beast, Cyclops asks what they’re dealing with. The dome’s origin is unknown, Prodigy tells him. The energy that comprises it is unknown; by all accounts, it’s physically impenetrable. It blocks all communications, including tech and telepathy. They can’t even see out of it. However, Prodigy adds that they know nothing yet about teleportation. Do they have any teleporters left?

Regrettably, Rogue informs him they do not. Vanisher went missing when he found out the teleporters were targeted. “Wonderful,” Beast sighs. “And as for the sphere…it’s streaming an incredible amount of data. I asked Namor to put his hand into it to see what would happen. It’s organic-unfriendly. Anyone other than Namor would have been killed.” Beast adds that, to a certain extent, the orb is temporal. It directly connects their timeline to a future timeline—the one from which the Nimrods originate.

Stoically, Cyclops asks how many Nimrods this timeline contains. Prodigy, his expression dire, answers him. “Our sensors analyzed the data from the sphere and the downed Nimrods…they’re in contact with a central A.I. in the future,” he says. “We think…we think…I…oh, God,” he mumbles. “I can’t do this.”

Cyclops commands him to answer. “How. Many.” He says.

Prodigy turns and looks at him. “The sensors failed after 170,000.”

The conference room falls silent. Dani Moonstar hangs her head. Emma Frost turns away. “Well, I’m no mathematician,” Domino says, “but that seems bad.” Prodigy, meanwhile, begins to freak out. They have to get out of there, he claims; they’re all going to die!

Wolverine tells him to shut up. Prodigy claims he doesn’t understand! They’ve got no chance! He’s seen the data; the odds are—

Logan interrupts him and tells him to shut the hell up and get himself together—or else he will die there. “Logan,” Rogue says, craning her neck toward her teammate, “back off. Now.”

Emma, turning to Scott, suggests he say something brilliant before they start passing out the Kool-Aid. Scott answers her with one word: Cable. They still have one bullet left, he says; Cable and Hope came back to the present using a time-travel device. Cable still has it. If Bastion’s sending hell after them from the future, then they need to send a team into that future to shut it down. They take the fight to them.

He makes it sound so easy, Rogue says. Beast concurs; even if they could somehow attune Cable’s device to that specific timeline, what then? Surely he heard the same numbers everyone else in the room is keenly aware of—and Sentinels are not known for their ability to be persuaded. Cyclops, however, reminds him they have someone who speaks their language: Cypher. After all, Prodigy said they’re reporting to a central A.I. If Cypher can access that system, he can rewrite it, he can take control of it, and he can shut down every single Sentinel it controls. He can wipe them all out at once, Cyclops declares.

“Yeah? Well, you’re forgetting about Ramsey’s one weakness,” Wolverine sneers. “Bullets.”
Enraged, Dani Moonstar stands up in her chair. “You son of a bitch!” she shouts at Logan. Scott, trying to maintain order, tells them both that’s enough. It is for the very reason Logan mentioned that he’s sending a team in with Douglas to get him to the central computer. Psylocke aloofly asks whom he plans to send on this suicide mission. Rogue eagerly volunteers to go. She’ll absorb all the powers she can take and then go.

Cyclops denies her request; he’s sending X-Force. At this, Domino drops her head and shuts her eyes. “Damn,” she says. Storm, sitting across the table from her, looks confused; she’s not away of any X-Force. Beast takes advantage of their confusion to blow open Scott’s secret. He barks at Scott to tell them all about the team of killers he assembled—the ones he sent to kill Bishop and god knows who else.

Confounded, Storm asks Scott if this is true. He doesn’t hesitate for a moment before answering that yes, it is. Ororo narrows her eyes and chooses her words carefully. If they survive this, she says, then she and Scott have a lot to discuss. That’s fine with Scott, but right now, he reminds her they have work to do.

He orders Psylocke to clear the city and get as many people as far away from the sphere as she can; she embarks on this task atop her motorcycle. Rogue, he orders to lead the evacuation of all humans and non-combatants to the Atlantean column; they need to stabilize the wounded and get them out of Utopia. When this goes down, he says, it’s going to happen fast—and they need to prepare themselves for casualties. “Everyone who can fight, fights,” he says. “Because we’re out of time.”

In the infirmary, Beast rubs his eyes as he keeps watch over his old friend Bobby Drake, who lies comatose. Elsewhere, Mercury consoles Surge, who grieves over the grave injuries done to Hellion. X-23, meanwhile, keeps watch on the unconscious Hellion.

At the bridge, a team of X-Men approaches the temporal sphere and stand guard. Rockslide and Dust cannot hide the expressions of fear and despair that adorn their faces. Colossus and Namor, on the other hand, stand tall before the portal.

Meanwhile, on Utopia, Hope asks Cable why he has to go. Because it’s a good plan, Cable replies. Hope, unsatisfied with his answer, presses the matter further, but Cable interrupts her. It’s a good plan, he reiterates, and it doesn’t work without the tech in his arm. “Nathan…” Hope says while looking at him with pleading eyes. With his back still turned to Hope, Cable pulls on his shirt. He has to do this, he says as he assembles with X-Force and Cypher.

Defeated, Hope lowers her head and gently closes her eyes. Cable stops. After Logan tells him to get on with it, he turns back toward hope as tears well up in his eyes. Hope begins to speak, but Cable, wrapping his arms around her, says the words first. “I love you, Hope.” A moment passes. “Goodbye,” he adds. He releases her from his embrace.

At that moment, one of the Stepford Cuckoos reports to Cyclops that it’s happening. Cyke looks out from Utopia at the effervescent orb on the Golden Gate Bridge. It glows brighter and brighter as figures approach its surface. On the bridge, Dust, Rockslide and Namor all watch with anxiety. “We need to not be here” is all Colossus can say.

Just then, five more Nimrod units breech the orb and enter the containment zone of San Francisco.

Cyclops frantically gives Cable and X-Force the signal. After activating the chronal device on his arm, Cable and his associates disappear into the timestream.

Moments after they depart, Emma asks Scott if he really thinks they can do it. He does. Although he answers her question, however, something about his demeanor leaves Emma feeling queasy. What is he not telling her? With his back still turned toward Emma, Scott simply says that he just killed them. Cable’s tech only had one jump left in it, he says. Cable knew it—they all knew it—and they went anyway. Win or lose, it’s a one-way trip, Cyclops states. Hope, crouching behind a desk, hears what Scott says next—and it hits her hard. “I just killed X-Force,” he says. “I just killed my son.”

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Armor, Colossus, Cyclops, Cypher, Domino, Dust, Hellion, Iceman, Magma, Moonstar, Namor, Prodigy, Psylocke, Rockslide, Rogue, Storm, Surge, Wolverine, X-23 (X-Men)

Beast (X-Men ally)


Hope Summers II


Graydon Creed, Steven Lang (Bastion’s subordinates)

Nimrod units

Story Notes: 

This is Chapter 9 of the Second Coming crossover. It follows X-Men Legacy #236 and continues in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #525.

Emma’s remark about passing out “the Kool-Aid” refers to the mass suicide that occurred in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978. Jim Jones, leader of the Peoples Temple, had established in Jonestown an apostolic socialist commune with over 900 members. After members of the cult murdered visiting U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan, Jones, rather than enduring the forthcoming retaliation and possible re-assimilation of his people, initiated a mass suicide by distributing to his followers a sugary beverage laced with cyanide and various other poisons. Most of the 918 victims ingested the poison voluntarily. Whether or not the beverage was actually Kool-Aid—and not Flavor-Aid, as some argue—remains a point of controversy to this day.

Wolverine’s crack about Cypher’s susceptibility to bullets refers to the former New Mutant’s cause of death back in NEW MUTANTS (1st series) #60.

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