X-Force (3rd series) #6

Issue Date: 
October 2008
Story Title: 
Angels & Demons: part 6

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

Brief Description: 

In the aftermath of the Purifier bloodbath Risman and his Choir are all set to take down Bastion once and for all. The battle never has a chance to play out due to the untimely arrival of X-Force, led by a vengeful Warren. Wolverine goes straight for Bastion while the other three deal with the Choir. Meanwhile at the Facility Red Lab, Reverend Craig tracks the escaped Wolfsbane to the very same room where Warren’s organic wings are held. After admitting she originally went after the Purifiers to save him from them Rahne admits she has no longer cares. Making matters worse Craig happens to stand in her line of sight with Warren’s suspended wings on either side of them. She instantly goes berserk and tears him to pieces. Back in Chicago, Risman makes a slick exit from the battlefield to destroy Magus and finds Eli infecting himself with the virus. They fight, but it’s X-23 who kills Risman with a bullet to the head. Eli sets his sights on X, but Warpath comes to her aid and Bard escapes swearing vengeance on James. Nearby, Bastion appears to have the upper hand, barbecuing Wolverine, but decides maintaining the battle is futile and escapes on a jet with his techno-organic crew. After surveying the battlefield and an unconscious Warren who reverted to normal, X-Force departs to secure a shocked and babbling Rahne and head back to the Aerie. This is where Wolverine gives a mission rundown to Cyclops who determines they must keep X-Force going, their only question being who they go after next.

Full Summary: 

Chicago, Purifier base

14 hours ago

With the Purifiers all wiped out, their body parts littering the floor, Bastion has the gall to tell Matthew Risman and his Choir to stand down. He reminds Risman they have the same goal, to preserve humanity against the mutant threat. Removing his pistol Risman aims it at Bastion, begging to differ with his statement. Matthew’s point of contention stems from the fact that the Oracle isn’t human, nor is his recently revived league of mutant haters. Staring at said techno-organic crew standing in the background Risman pronounces them unholy abominations that need to be destroyed.

First, however, Risman wants Bastion to face the wrath of his Choir. CRASH Risman turns to see Warren flying straight at them. He lands amidst the Choir and screams at them to give them back. Of course he’s referring to his organic wings, and of course they can’t do that so Angel starts tearing into them with his techno-organic set.

Gabriel rushes to Risman’s side and asks if Warren is one of them. Risman denies this, claiming Satan is playing a trick on them, that Warren is a mutant and needs to be destroyed. Leading the rest of the group Gabriel returns to confront the mutant menace.

Now with a second pistol aimed at Bastion’s head the two Purifier leaders are set to square off. Energy crackles from Bastion’s hands in response. He tells Risman the X-Men are coming for him. Risman replies that he’s ready to die, but insists Bastion goes first.

Claws find their way into Bastion’s head and a bevy of pinkish sparks arc out into the air. <<> goes Bastion, momentarily disabled. The rest of X-Force drops in from the skylight. Warpath takes in his surroundings, a bit bewildered by all the dead bodies and the fact that Bastion’s alive. Quickly assessing the situation X-23 states they have 48 targets, including airborne. Warpath asks for a plan and Wolverine, a fierce grin on his face, says, “Sixteen apiece. Kill ‘em all.”

Facility Red Lab, north of the Canada/North Dakota border
A trail of blood marks the path of Wolfsbane as she tries eluding her father and tormentor, Reverend Craig. As he tracks her movement he spouts his religious rhetoric, calling Rahne Satan’s spawn and whatnot.

The trail finally leads Craig to a room. As he opens the door to the darkened area he promises to finish what Moira MacTaggert prevented all those years ago. “Come out, demon!” he calls. Wolfsbane comes out all right, leaping onto his back and pinning the Reverend to the ground. Still in wolfen form Wolfsbane brings her face up to Craig’s telling him he’s taken God’s word and twisted it, using it to justify torture and murder. As she gets off of him she calls him the demon.

Reverting toward her human form Rahne admits the only reason she came after the Purifiers was to save Craig, because part of her still loved him. She looks at him with disgust admitting after what he’s done to her, what he’s made her do, she will never forgive him.

KA-CHAK, a bullet is chambered into the barrel of Reverend Craig’s pistol. He gets to his feet just as Rahne is about to exit the room. She turns around as Craig once again calls her Satan’s daughter, refuting their familial relationship. He levels his gun at her this time hoping to finish the job; however he’s chosen a most unfortunate spot to stand. Warren’s freshly amputated wings hover on either side of his shoulders.

A gasp emits from Rahne’s throat as she suddenly transforms. “Kill the angel.” She growls before leaping into action. Reverend Craig doesn’t stand a chance.

Chicago, Purifier base

Back at the hangar the slicing and dicing continues. Angel does the most damage, being airborne and all. X-23 and Warpath try their best, getting an occasional flyby. However, it’s the scattered bodies/body parts that paint the best picture of the carnage.

X catches a whiff of Risman as he attempts his getaway. She gives chase, catching the eye of Warpath. He tells her to hold up, but she doesn’t listen.

Risman makes his way to Magus’ chamber. Weapons drawn he breaks into the room and threatens Magus with the wrath of God. What Risman sees causes him to stop short, his friend, Eli, his left hand literally in the belly of the beast.

“Eli?” the scarred face of Matthew calls out. Eli looks over his shoulder at Risman. He was hoping Matthew would find him. Still confused Risman yells in God’s name for Eli to get away from the creature. Eli removes his infected hand from the techno-organic mesh stating there is no God, only Death, his queen.

Risman is shocked and outraged, but doesn’t hesitate to put a slug through his friend’s chest. “That wasn’t very nice,” Bard responds, grabbing Risman by the collar and clocking him across the face. “I trusted you. I believed in you!!” Matthew cries out. Eli says that was a mistake on his part, one of many, then explains he was going to make an offer to the Purifiers to sacrifice their souls to his beloved, but after finding Magus he changed his mind. Now, he says simply, they’re just going to die.

Eli opens his techno-mouth wide revealing long, pointed fangs. Before he can feast Laura comes on scene and puts a bullet through Risman’s brain, followed by three more rounds in Bard. It doesn’t stop him and in mere moments he has X-23 in a choke hold.

Bard brings his maw closer, ever closer, to X-23’s neck. He’s angry at her for denying him Risman’s soul, but finds her healing factor very appealing, especially since he’s dining for two now. Before he can infect her James’ knife skewers his back. He reels back in excruciating agony.

With the other knife poised in his right hand James orders Eli to let her go or die. Struggling to his feet Eli informs the young Apache he’s already dead. X cuts through the bravado and tells James to kill him already. Eli doesn’t give him the chance, taking off like a bat out of hell. Before he goes, however, he tells James he’s killed more of his people than smallpox and he’s just made this personal.

James kneels down at Laura’s side and asks if she’s ok. Laura only asks if she completed her mission. Looking down at the bullet entry wound in Risman’s forehead James says she did good and suggests they get out of there.

With most of the Choir dead those remaining begin second guessing their purpose. Their leader, Gabriel, is still alive, but looks lost, defeated. He starts quoting scripture, but his fellow soldiers implore him to lead them out before the angel of death comes for them as well. Gabriel snaps out of it and exits via the skylight with two of his brethren, although he leaves his cross-tipped staff behind.

Wolverine, meanwhile, has his hands full with Bastion. No matter how much he hacks the Oracle doesn’t go down. Instead, he declares mutants have brought this upon themselves, with any one of them containing the potential to destroy humanity. As he charges up his hands and fires Bastion exclaims that’s something they can’t allow.

X-Force’s leader is hit hard and sent flying backward. He struggles back to his feet, his chest shimmering pink and burning. Eyes aglow Bastion admits he wanted the X-Men to kill Risman, but stresses the confrontation is premature. Wolverine doesn’t care of course, but before he can resume his attack a ship lowers itself behind Bastion. The ramp lowers slowly and Wolverine sees them all, all the X-Men’s deadliest enemies gathered together.

Logan’s lost in the moment. “No… No @#$%ing way,” he says in utter disbelief. Bastion seizes the opportunity and fires another energy blast at Logan, this one a constant stream of force. As his skin starts sizzling Logan crosses his hands in front of his face and keeps coming. “You’re dead!!” Logan screams, inching closer and closer.

Bastion runs a risk analysis. “Unacceptable” is the result and he takes to the air landing on the ship’s ramp. Cameron Hodge asks if there’s a problem. Of course, Bastion replies, and orders the evacuation of the base. He tells Stryker to get the ship ready for takeoff.

Wolverine takes a running leap at the ship’s ramp. He almost makes it, but the afterburners on the ship explode with fury. Wolverine is all smoldering and burnt when he lands. Luckily, X-23 and Warpath are there when he does. They both comment on the horrible smell emanating from his flesh. He tells them to shut up and take a good look at what they signed up for. In front of them is a great view of the scattered remains of the Purifiers and Choir.

Wolverine’s next question pertains to the location of the man who led them there, Warren. Warpath points out the way, but says he’s not going to believe it. After what he’s seen today, Wolverine tells him not to be so sure. As they make their way closer they find Warren unconscious, lying amongst the butchery, in human form with newly formed wings.

Facility Red Lab, north of the Canada/North Dakota border

Some time later Wolverine, X-23 and Warpath find Rahne soaked in the blood of her father, praying for forgiveness. Over and over again Rahne repeats, “There is no sin so terrible that God’s love cannot forgive…” It takes a few moments for her to realize her friends have arrived. Time enough for X-Force to take a good look around and notice there’s not much body left of Reverend Craig. Logan worries what will happen to her once the shock wears off and she realizes what she did.

Colorado Rocky Mountains, Angel’s Aerie


Both Cyclops and Wolverine are out on the balcony, Logan finishing up with the mission details. He says Worthington didn’t even have a scratch on him, but was concerned he could feel the wings still inside him wanting to come out. As for Sinclair, Logan reports she’s fine physically, but her hurt is deeper than that.

Scott takes it all in and with a grim look of determination states they can’t stop what they started, especially not after what Logan just told him. As Cyke makes his way back inside he asks Wolverine if he has any idea who killed the Technarch or who the man was that X-23 and Warpath saw. “Eli” is the only thing X heard, Logan replies. Then there’s only one question left, Scott responds, who’s next. The two men look up at a large screen with nine mutant hater profiles on display, the one of Risman X’d out.

Characters Involved: 

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

Angel, Cyclops (members of the X-Men)

Elixir (former student of the Xavier Institute)

Reverend Matthew Risman

Reverend Craig

Eli Bard

Gabriel (Choir leader)

various members of the Choir


Magus offspring

Donald Pierce (Leader of the Reavers)

The Leper Queen (Leader of the Sapien League)

Graydon Creed, Cameron Hodge, Stephen Lang, Reverend William Stryker, Bolivar
Trask (all reanimated vessels of the techno-organic virus)

Story Notes: 

The scenes depicting the events with the Purifiers (which is most of the issue) is narrated by Wolverine as he relates everything to Cyclops.

After Rahne’s power first presented itself and she transformed into a wolf Reverend Craig gathered an angry mob and set about to kill her. After getting shot and collapsing on Moira’s property, MacTaggert ordered them away and took the girl in. [Marvel Graphic Novel #4]

More on Eli Bard and his origins is revealed in X-Force (3rd series) #11. In the same issue it’s also revealed Eli made good on his promise to James to make things personal, robbing the graves of Warpath’s people and reanimating them for use as fodder for his queen Selene.

Word balloon error:

Either some word balloons were mixed up during the remaining Choir’s escape or Gabriel is so battle-weary and distraught he starts talking in the third person.

In order from top to bottom, left to right, X-Force’s target list includes: Bastion, Graydon Creed, Bolivar Trask, the Leper Queen, Donald Pierce, Cameron Hodge, Reverend William Stryker, Steven Lang and Matthew Risman.

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