X-Force (4th series) #11

Issue Date: 
December 2014
Story Title: 
Them’s The Breaks

Simon Spurrier (writer), Rock-He Kim (artist), (VC’s Joe Sabino (letterer), Rock-He Kim (cover artist), Xander Jarowey (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Mike Marts (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

X-Force attack Project Yellow Eye. While they take out most minions easily, an amazingly skilled masked woman in black is giving them trouble. Fantomex chafes under Cable’s orders and MeMe, with whom he recently broke up, tries to find out why by hacking into Fantomex’s brain. She learns that Cable originally promised him to help him find his other two selves and how crazy he truly is. Worse, while she has been hacking into his mind, he used EVA to do the same to hers and has been aware of her true identity - Hope Summers - all along. Unwilling to obey any longer, Fantomex has EVA purge MeMe from his mind and then uses his powers to take out X-Force, planning to kill them. MeMe finds shelter in the woman in black’s armor, inadvertently freeing her from her brainwashing. Fantomex offers to spare Psylocke if she accepts his superiority. Instead, she calls him unlucky, which becomes clearer when the freed woman in back, Domino, shoots him in the head.

Full Summary: 

X-Force is attacking Project Yellow Eye. Still posing as MeMe, Hope Summers is thinking about how easily things get broken. Not just the obvious stuff, bodies armor, steel… No, Hope’s feeling a little more poetic than that.

She watches Marrow cutting loose, impaling their foes… a woman so mired in self-loathing she flees into insanity just to function.

Cable informs Dr. Nemesis via comm. that they tracked the bug to Hong Kong. There’s some sort of portal. They figure the surveillance op is on the other side.

Or promises, Hope’s thinking. Promises break like glass. Like Psylocke’s promise not to kill, which she immediately breaks by killing the guards.

The others follow. Cable tells her to quit showboating.

Hope thinks the only breakage worse than a mangled mind or a violated vow is a sickly soul. She worries about Cable – or his copies – getting colder and more brutal with every mission.

While the others continue fighting, Cable looks at the many screens and realizes they are spying on every mutant there is. Hope is worried by the fact that he sounds impressed. He muses what they could achieve with that tech. Find Volga, cure his daughter and then…” Dear world: the nation of mutantkind is watching you. Do not #&%$ with us!”

She reminds him their goal is to destroy the facility.

Part of her wants to lead these monsters her father has assembled, but right now she is broken as well, namely her heart.

She stares at Fantomex, who orders her to stop.

Hope was raised on the run in the future. She never had normal experiences. At least she tells herself that is why she is feeling so fragile. The only person who can share her new digital reality, who could possibly ease her loneliness – namely Fantomex – doesn’t want her and rather callously broke up with her.

Elite henchperson coming in, Fantomex announces as a masked person enters and immediately attacks them.

Fantomex was the only person who could share her digital reality, thanks to the nanites in his brain, but he doesn’t want her. Hence the heartache and the broken concentration. Hope tells herself she is stupid. He’s a lowlife anyway. A fake Frenchman, always an inch away from a tantrum. It’s not like it went real far anyway. And she’s kissed other guys… been on dates. This shouldn’t matter but… the first time you’re ditched… that stays with you

Marrow rudely orders her to get out of the way as she also attacks the black-clad newcomer. Angrily, Fantomex shouts this is his kill.

Hope finds she cannot deal with the feelings. She wants to know the why, which is why she hacks into Fantomex’ brain in the middle of the fight.

Fantomex’ mindscape:
Inside she finds Fantomex is… complicated, having been divided into three clones and the other two are missing. He’s got a sentient diagnostic function circling his brain like a boiling hot bodyguard. But the worst part? The worst part is a programmed paradox, splintering further every day – the flaw of flawlessness. He is incapable of believing anyone is better than him. He is so hypersane it has driven him nuts. In a perfect world, that would take the sting out of the rejection. But it doesn’t.

Marrow points out Fantomex has missed. That’s not pp… he stutters and holds his head. Marrow suddenly finds herself beset by bugs.

The leader of Project Yelloweye orders his minions to get him out. The men fire. Kill! Cable orders his people. The others comply.

Still holding his head, Fantomex mutters: “Don’t you tell me what to do. No no, don’t you tell me!”

Hope digs deeper into his memories, even as his brain breaks. She sees what happened in Alexandria.

Memory / flashback:
Cable, carrying the comatose Hope, had just teleported away from the detonation, carrying Hope, only  to run into Fantomex. Cable asks what he’s doing here. Kneeling, Fantomex explains it’s his other two selves. He thought they’d be here. He needs them. Needs to be whole. Needs to be perfect. He just wants to kill and kill and kill… he rants.

Cable tells him he knows a way. If Fantomex helps him to hold it together, he will help him find them.

Hope bursts out Cable already knew how crazy he was. Cable doesn’t know what she is talking about and orders her to focus.

They are surprised by a grenade thrown by the mystery woman in black. She finds she has run out of magic fairy grenades as she is trying to evacuate the leader. She tells him to fall back to the enchanted forest. She won’t let them hurt him.

Her voice seems familiar to Cable but Marrow, Psylocke and Fantomex are more interested in killing. They attack but Cable finds his gun has jammed. MeMe finds her lasers overheated all at once, Marrow slips and falls on Psylocke and Fantomex missed again. The doorway behind their quarry has closed and Psylocke can’t read through it.

What action, boss? Marrow asks. What action what action! Fantomex mutter, always they ask… stupid, stupid! Give him a second, Cable orders a he accesses the data tech.

MeMe points out he promised they’d destroy this place, not use it. When he continues, she orders Fantomex to place explode charges. She doesn’t tell him what to do, he snaps. “I don’t take orders from you, Summers!” When she hears the name, Hope realizes Fantomex is aware of her true identity, has in fact already known when he dumped her, and all the while she’s been hacking into his brain he has used EVA to hack right back into hers.

In the mindscape, EVA informs him Hope is wondering right now if he dumped her out of fear of her dad finding out.

Fantomex steps toward her and mockingly looks down at Hope. Ffffeear? Moi? He scoffs. Of him? He refers to Cable. Of any of them? “You hilarious little creature! How dare you!”

EVA tries to get him to calm down. The flaw is getting worse. Non, he rants it is enough! Always submitting to the orders of fools! She doesn’t know what he is. What he can do! They don’t begin to respect him as they should. He turns back to Hope and shouts: He is the annoying one, eh? The one with the comedy accent. The swaggering caricature with nothing but his eccentricity to identify him. He’s bored of it. Fear. How dare she? He’s bored with all of them. He orders EVA to get this scrawny little nerd out of his head.

On his command, EVA purges the screaming Hope.

In reality, Psylocke is the first to notice something wrong as MeMe disappears, leaving behind only her floating device.

In Fantomex’s head, EVA reports she has removed the impurity and he still needs to calm down. Weak, all weak he mutters. Non, he decides. It is too much. He is sick and tired. Thinking they are better, giving him orders. “Fear.Pah! Thinking they are worthy to even look at him, he rants He thinks… oui, these places these facilities. It is time.

He spits out a small floating globe and asks the others for their attention. The ball grows in size and takes them all out with lightning. Easier than he thought, Fantomex finds, but then, most things are.

What did he do? Cable groans as the energy till crackles keeping them down. Externalized picotech neuroweapon, Fantomex sighs, and he asks him “what.” Wrong question, silly man.

Why? Psylocke moans. Better, Fantomex states. How best to explain… It is a subtle and nuanced compulsion which transcends conventional morals and requires a truly sophisticated perspective. Please try to follow: He is better than all of them. It is necessary that he kills them all to prove it. He should never have waited this long. He interrupts his rant. Is he admitting a mistake? Non, he decides, un triomphe of patience AND resolve.

He’s crazier than she is, Marrow interrupts. He fires to wound her for his soliloquy.

He reminds Cable that he promised to help him find and reintegrate his other selves. When Cable announces they were busy, Fantomex accuse him of lying. He kicks Cable in the face and continues he doesn’t hold it against him.

He turns to Psylocke next, admitting reluctantly he was uncertain if he could take them all. When they encountered Volga, he thought his tech might give him the means to become as strong… as perfect as he once was. But Volga’s weapon is as flawed and unpredictable as the rest of them… and look: he didn’t need it at all.

Fantomex kneels down next to her. Even MeMe, ridiculous little ghost girl… EVA hoped she might have the key stashed in that infected little brain to make him great again. A psychic strain of the Volga process. But she was too weak.

What has he done to her? Psylocke demands. Full digital purge, EVA announces. The sentient algorithm was burnt clear. And a mind like that, Fantomex continues, of a whining panicking teenager… he guesses she doesn’t have the discipline to re-coalesce. And even if she did: they are in a bio-psychic facility. Where would she go?

The mystery woman in black is in her mindscape, where she is an Amazon trying to save her master from monsters. That moment, a hysterical MeMe flees into the tech causing the illusion. The woman finally wakes up; the illusion over. Where the hell is she? she groans.

Not far away, Fantomex continues, none of his attempts to improve himself matter now. With this facility, he can find his missing selves. He can find Volga. He can find any ridiculous super weapon and integrate it into himself. He does not need X-Force now with its broken promises and broken people. But her, he calls her his love. Her he would spare. And all it would take is a single word.

He swallows the EVA globe, then trains his gun at Psylocke. Tell him he is the best, he orders. Not the term she’d use, Betsy replies. And what would she call him? he asks intrigued. Looking behind him, she replies unlucky.

A moment later, Domino fires a bullet into his head. Can’t leave them damn kids alone for five minutes, she smirks.

Characters Involved: 

Cable, Dr. Nemesis, Fantomex, Marrow, Meme, Psylocke (X-Force)
Domino (former member)

Head of Project Yellow Eye

Story Notes: 

The story is told by EVA, who is explaining Hope’s point of view to Fantomex.

Actually, Hope’s been ditched before by her teammate Velocidad in Generation Hope #13.

The Alexandria event was described in issue #6.

Domino was captured in issue #7.

Written By: