X-Force (3rd series) #5

Issue Date: 
September 2008
Story Title: 
Angels & Demons: part 5 of 6

Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost (writers), Clayton Crain (artist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Irene Lee (production), Michael Horwitz & Jody LeHeup (assistant editor), John Barber (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Warren’s transformation into Archangel throws him into a berserker rage. He fights off X-Force and takes to the night sky. X-Force hops in the X-Jet and gives chase. Meanwhile, Risman, Bard and Craig have a meeting of minds. Craig leaves to finish off Wolfsbane while the other two convene with the Choir and take off for the Purifier base in Chicago. Reverend Craig’s meeting with Rahne doesn’t go as planned as he accidentally frees her from her shackles allowing her access to her powers, which she uses to escape. While in Chicago, Bastion has Stryker ready the Purifiers for an attack against the “traitorous” Risman. However, when Risman and his Choir arrive they easily best their opposition. Only Bastion survives, and Risman wants a word with him.

Full Summary: 

Colorado Rocky Mountains, Angel’s Aerie:

Warren Worthington stands tense, breathing heavy, angry. The members that comprise the hit squad, X-Force, don’t know what to make of Warren’s surprising reversion to Archangel. Logan tells everyone not to move, hoping Warren might calm him down. It doesn’t look good.
Maybe being brave, but most likely dumb, Josh suggests getting close to Warren to make him go to sleep. Dripping with sarcasm X-23 warns him Angel can make him die from far away. Warren’s heard enough. Through gritted teeth he exclaims, “My wings… I can feel them… THEY TOOK MY WINGS!!!” Then spreading his newly formed techno-organic wings he takes to the air. X-Force takes this as possible sign of aggression and move into action.
With claws popped Wolverine’s the first to leap into the fray. As his stomach is torn open by a razor sharp wing he’s knocked backward and placed momentarily out of commission. Warren shoots a few razor feathers at X-23 scoring in the shoulder and stomach. Josh barely avoids the barrage.
The pain Warren’s feeling distracts him, leaving him vulnerable to a rear assault. Warpath leaps onto Warren’s back, placing one of his blades to Angel’s throat. Get it together, man, James yells, threatening to slice his neck open. Instead, Warren lifts off into the air and rams James into the ceiling, knocking him off his back. When Warpath hits the ground Angel’s right on top of him, punching him in the face.
Warren keeps yelling, “Make it stop!!” referring to the pain. Logan, back on his feet, tells him he can have whatever he wants. Warren changes his focus to Wolverine and soars swiftly toward him. However, instead of attacking he passes right over his head crashing through the large set of windows and taking off into the night sky.
Facility Red Lab, north of the Canada/North Dakota border:

Matthew Risman’s mind wanders, recalling the events that led to him becoming God’s chosen, of his recruitment by William Stryker, a man who showed him visions of the future and helped him save the lives of his wife and child. Following Stryker’s death Risman was to take the reigns of his crusade, having already received instructions on how to ensure Eden’s return to the Lord and the method behind killing Satan’s mutant army.
Risman’s first order was to protect the Oracle, their sole connection to the future. It was through Brother Eli he was able to procure Bastion’s head and give new life to Nimrod. However, there are plenty of doubts racking Risman’s mind on this matter. He fears that instead of providing salvation he’s handed humanity over to a new evil.
Stryker’s second order was to build a Choir of human angels using alien technology hidden within the angelic wings of an unknown mutant. They had discovered two mutants with wings, but it was the second one, called “Angel” that had what they needed. Now the Choir awaits his orders, ready for the coming war.
It is Risman who currently walks the corridors of the Facility, his right-hand man, Eli, and fellow Purifier, Reverend Craig, at his side. Risman admits his disgust with Reverend Stryker’s techno-organic resurrection calling it an assault against their holy crusade. The Oracle must be stopped, he proclaims.
Eli asks what he plans on doing. First, he explains, he’ll put William’s soul to rest then he’ll destroy the techno-organic monster, Magus, after which he’ll kill the Oracle. After thanking Eli for his loyalty and faith Matthew tells Reverend Craig to finish his work and return Wolfsbane to Satan.
Risman heads out to meet up with the Choir leaving the two men to their business. Craig walks off to perform his holy duty, but Eli stays where he is. He calls out for Matthew to stop and then jogs over to catch up with him. Eli wants to go with him, but Risman thinks it’s too risky with Bastion controlling Stryker. The only reason the Choir follows him is because they don’t know of Stryker’s resurrection, Risman points out, and after this mission none of them may be coming back.
Eli insists on going, after all it was he who brought this evil upon them, giving them Bastion’s location. Risman still argues the point, but Eli reminds him that he said they were brothers, and as brothers they should fight together. Placing his hand on Eli’s shoulder Matthew thanks him, resigning the point. The two men then leave toward the hangar, toward their destiny.
What they find waiting for them is the entire delegation of the Choir standing in formation, brother Gabriel in front bearing a staff with a cross at its head. The jet, with Risman and Bard now on board, takes off, dozens of winged warriors following in its wake.
Chicago, Purifier base:

The Purifiers have gathered inside a large auditorium to hear their leader speak of what is to come. Positioned behind a lectern on stage stands their guide, William Stryker. The Purifiers, much like the Choir, stand in formation already in uniform, though armed with energy rifles.
Stryker relays the news that their interim leader, Matthew Risman, has fallen to the dark side, seduced by the devil. He compares Risman to Judas, warning his followers he’s coming to kill them. Stryker tells his men he must be struck down. However, though this charismatic speech is coming from the lips of the resurrected Stryker, they’re actually Bastion’s words, the sermon of Stryker’s puppet master.
Facility Red Lab, north of the Canada/North Dakota border:

The room is dark, its sole occupant fast asleep on the cold concrete floor. Rahne awakens with a startle, the memories of what she did coming back to her in fragments. She tries transforming, but it doesn’t work. She looks down at her hands and finds them handcuffed at the wrists.
Sitting upright Rahne is suddenly hit with powerful flashbacks of the intense brainwashing she went under. Visions of angels flutter through her mind while a verbal barrage of insults hammer her as well. Her eyes were held open with metal clamps. She was forced to watch as the angels turned bloody, as the voice kept telling her to let the beast feast, that she was evil. The visage of her tormentor finally flashes amidst the dark images, her father Reverend Craig.
“Please Lord… please let me wake up…” Rahne cries as she shuffles her way toward the corner. She sees herself attacking Warren and taking his wings. She tries shutting out the images, clenching her eyes tight and balling her fists up to her face, but they keep coming anyway.
Amidst Rahne’s prayers for forgiveness the lights turn on. The door opens with Reverend Craig standing just outside. He calmly tells her there is no forgiveness for demons, just wrath.
over mid-America:

The X-Jet races over the country in hot pursuit of Angel. They’re barely able to keep up with their furious friend. He turns and Jimmy follows. X-23 figures whatever Warren’s target is, it’s moving. Wolverine presumes he’s going after his wings, wherever they are.
Chicago, Purifier base:

The Choir are nearing their target in Chicago. Risman radios a warning to Gabriel that there’ll be eyes in place on the roof that need to be blinded. Gabriel understands and commands Michael and Daniel to join him, breaking rank with the flock.
Four lookouts stand atop the skyscraper, all armed. That really doesn’t do them any good as one second their heads are attached to their necks and the next second they aren’t, courtesy of the techno-organic wings of the Choir scouting party.
Facility Red Lab, north of the Canada/North Dakota border:

Rahne gets to her feet demanding to know why her father made her hurt her friends. Ignoring the question Reverend Craig accuses her of twisting his thoughts and making him believe her evil was in him, but he’s realized the truth, she’s the devil’s daughter.
Craig levels a handgun at Rahne declaring Satan to be her father, himself her executioner. He fires and Rahne swiftly moves her hands in the general direction he was aiming. The bullet connects with her handcuffs before entering the meaty part of her thigh.
Rahne falls to the floor with a thud. She apologizes to Craig, saying all she ever wanted was his love. She looks down at her hands, no longer shackled, and finds them transforming. She turns into the wolf and leaps toward the door, knocking Craig out of the way. Rahne races down the hallway smashing things along the way. Craig finally gets to his feet and follows the path of destruction.
Chicago, Purifier base:

It is absolute carnage. The Purifiers on the floor fire away at the airborne Choir. The Choir does well avoiding the laser blasts, decapitating many a foe. Having the low ground the Purifiers never really stood a chance.
When it’s all said and done the surviving Choir members clear the way for Risman. He and Eli step through the wet puddles of blood, Risman disappointed that it had to come to this. Not only is Bastion a risk to the lives of every god-fearing man, woman and child on the planet, he thinks, but their souls as well.
Bastion stands on the other side of the room, unflinching as Risman and his people advance toward him. “Bastion,” Risman calls out as he approaches the Oracle, “A word, if you will.”

Characters Involved: 

Warpath, Wolfsbane, Wolverine, X-23 (all X-Force)

Angel (member of the X-Men)

Elixir (former student of the Xavier Institute)
Reverend Matthew Risman

Reverend Craig

Eli Bard

Gabriel (Choir leader)

Michael, Daniel and various members of the Choir

various Purifiers

Reverend William Stryker (reanimated vessel of the techno-organic virus)

Story Notes: 

This issue is narrated by Matthew Risman.
William Stryker saved Matthew Risman’s family through the use of the advanced Sentinel, Nimrod. Stryker was able to see future events and use them to recruit members to his organization. He knew Risman’s wife and child were going to die in a house explosion and gave Matthew enough time to save them. This was all detailed in New X-Men (2nd series) #20.
During the Purifier massacre at the Institute Elixir, in a fit of rage, used his powers against Stryker, though not to heal, but kill. This occurred in New X-Men (2nd series) #27.
In the Christian New Testament Judas was a disciple of Jesus, who later betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: