X-Force (4th series) #13

Issue Date: 
February 2015
Story Title: 
Last One Out Turn Out The Lights

Simon Spurrier (writer), Tan Eng Huat & Kevin Sharpe (pencilers), Craig Yeung w/ Norman Lee (inkers), Jose Villarubia (colorist), 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 escaped Fantomex by trapping him in an illusion but they failed to kill him, so he now hunts superbeings. Cable has captured Volga on his own and now tortures him from information. Hope, who is waiting for the point when Cable will switch off MeMe’s life support and hence send her back into her coma, meets with Forget-Me-Not, who was saved by the echoes of the real MeMe’s personality who control the support droids. The droids inject MeMe’s body with an overdose of Dr. Nemesis’ Hypercoffee, so Hope can remember her meeting with Forget-Me-Not. The two discuss how X-Force have completely lost their moral compass and Forget-Me-Not shows Hope a video file that horrifies her. Volga reveals to Marrow that she isn’t to blame for her unborn child’s death; he is, which causes Marrow to kill him, as he planned. When X-Force gather to unplug MeMe and send Hope back to her coma, they find MeMe has already perished and Hope is comatose. Nevertheless, Psylocke senses that, even in her coma, Hope is furious.

Full Summary: 

Look I’m sorry, but paint me unimpressed.

The bessst! a transformed Fantomex hisses, believing he has killed his former teammates, X-Force, when actually MeMe aka Hope Summers stuck one of those hallucination pipes on his head, making him dream his victory.

You escaped and blew him to hell. Yep, heard all about it. Same way I’ve heard you barely even scratched him. Have you seen the footage? He’s been zipping about out there for days, gunning for anyone who’s tougher than him to prove a point. Supersoldiers, superspies, super-anything. That’s one seriously insecure super-nemesis. And I should know. He killed me once already.

I know about the rest of it too. Like you got the gross alien guy upstairs on overwatch. Keep your enemies close, right?

Tied up in front of several screens, Mojo is forced to analyze Fantomex’s appearances, behavior and powers. Can he have a biscotti now? he wheedles. Dr. Nemesis mumbles that format is the key. Fantomex not only copied the Volga effect from Hope, he digitized it. And thanks to the glorified arcade machine he calls a brain, he’s been able to rewrite it too. Hence the annoying lack of explodo side effect. And no, Mojo may not. The biscotti is his biscotti.

I know, we relocated by a coupla thousand miles I know, you’re all twitchy, in case Pepe the powermad finds you and I know, your glorious leader has a single multifunctional solution to all these problems, by which I mean Volga.

Annoyed, Hope interrupts the radio transmission. She doesn’t care who he is, just please get to the damn point! The mystery person replies the point is that this is when they are all supposed to go after Volga together. Find a cure. The whole group finally setting aside its differences and fix the world as one. Instead, her dad went and caught him solo, while the rest of them were asleep. Off screen action sequence. That’s how #*%&%§ they are.

Somewhere else Cable and Marrow are holding Volga prisoner. Cable notes an energy spike and mocks that Volga is trying to self-destruct again. Naughty. He tortures him.

Talking to the recorder, Hope bursts out the other person said they had vital information for her. She said she’d provide a laser beam enema if they were lying. That’s a good deal. There was no mention of trash talking her team. And they totally revised the mission footage and it was a pretty awesome superhero moment, thank you very much. The voice tells her to give it a rest. She’s bitter as hell about it and they both know it.

Not another step, she decides, until she knows where these droids are leading her. And why she can’t hack their systems. And who the $%&§ she is talking to.

He’s the absorbent shoulder she’s been crying on, comes the reply. He’s the one who knows she’s spent the past three days down here, so she doesn’t have to witness Volga’s interrogation and he knows she’s just killing time waiting for her dad to switch off MeMe’s body and stop Hope sleepwalking with her powers. Why is that anyway? Is he worried for her safety or doesn’t he want her to see all the dark %$§ he gets up to? Hope isn’t sure but if he wants to know what she thinks— He tells her he knows part of her is looking forward to it. Just so she doesn’t have to watch her old man go wrong anymore. She told him yesterday. If it helps at all? The others feel it too. The wrongness.

In another part of the carrier, Domino and Psylocke spar. Light sparring, Psylocke reminds Domino as she wipes the blood from her mouth. If she can’t take the heat, duchess… Angrily, they continue.

Some of them just force it out. Masked behind anger, violence. Others like Nemesis tune it out, intellectualize it, and others like Marrow embrace it, the mystery person muses. Whatever it takes to make the problem go away.

Marrow tortures Volga while Cable demands how they can change back his daughter and solve the Fantomex problem.

What problem? Hope asks. The problem is this: they are supposed to be the *&%§ heroes! Hope tries to excuse their deeds, denying black and white morality but the other person doesn’t buy it.

Who is he? Hope demands. He chuckles that she asked him that question right here three times this week already. She keeps forgetting the answer, but not today. Today they liberated a little something from Doc Nemesis’ lab that might help him out (namely the Hypercoffee).

Poor old MeMe, he continues on a different tangent, never got a chance to even tell them her real name. She’s more a victim than anyone in this stupid place, and maybe that’s her gift. Mutated, used, bashed around, brain dead and now being overdosed on a stolen batch of quantum coffee by one of the helper bots. Hope is still piggybacking on her powers so the effect should pass straight into her, including the ability to remember those little chats of theirs. Hopefully without the fatal damage.

Fatal? Hope repeats. He can’t call them monsters, then kill that innocent woman! The voice points out she is already dead, this is just her body. Also, Hope might stop firing accusation until she knows who’s doing the killing. Now would be the time to start asking questions, by the way.

Frustrated, Hope shouts who is he? She is finally led to her destination. An injured bandaged man drags himself into her field of sight and says it’s nice to meet her. Again. Some folks call him Forget-Me-Not. But really? He’s nobody. And he’d rather be that than one of them. No offense. He asks her to help him up. There’s something else she needs to see.

In another room, an agitated Cable repeats his questions. How do they fix his daughter? How do they get Fantomex? Can’t say, the bleeding Volga groans. Violates first principle of open market. Not compromise product sanctity. Fate worse than death, da? Better off killing him, old guy.

Cable promises they got plenty more toys to play with. In the meantime, Volga turns to Marrow, reminding her she choose to let her baby die in exchange for power. Bet she hates him lots. “Give in to your anger, young Skywalker,” Marrow mocks. Give her a break. They got science crap in here she can’t even pronounce to stop him topping himself. Trying to persuade her to do it? That’s just reaching. No matter how much hatred she has for him it’s nothing to that she feels for herself. He ain’t going nowhere.

Elsewhere, Forget-Me-Not tells Hope it’s a question of legacy. What do you want to be remembered for? It’s more important than it sounds and she can take that from someone who won’t be remembered at all. Superheroes? Oh sure, call it a dumb dream. Too simple. Too neat. But it’s a dream worth having.

Meanwhile, Psylocke’s and Domino’s fight turns more brutal and Marrow and Cable are gleefully torturing Volga.

Forget-Me-Not continues that it’s basically impossible to stay decent surrounded by all this #*$§. “Ends justify the means,” “the lesser of two evils.” All those sick little excuses. So you self-distract and self-destroy until you’re too exhausted to even notice the monster you’ve become. And they don’t even realize there’s goodness here, right under their noses. He means himself? Hope splutters. Forget-Me-Not is taken aback at the thought. Her, he replies and points inside to several screens showing the others and the cleaner ‘bots. The life she stole. MeMe.

A screen shows that the system integrity is going down fast.

Forget-Me-Not’s narration:
She was normal, he continues. Does Hope even know what that means? A regular girl with a regular sense of right and wrong. She was captured by Volga, forced into this box. He used her. Then the good guys showed up and used her some more. And somewhere along the way – plane explosions and trauma – her mind plumb forgot to go home. He doesn’t suppose it would have mattered much even if she could.
End narration

Because Hope had already taken up residence.

Hope mutters that she didn’t realize. Forget-Me-Not assures her MeMe doesn’t blame her. That’s not even her in there. Just an echo. It grabbed a handhold in the ship’s echo systems and it’s been fading ever since. But she saved him. Got into the drones, saved his life, for no reason but that she could. Just figured it was the right thing to do. And just before she dwindled so far she couldn’t even speak anymore she told him to get Hope. She’s just some girl. Who never wore a costume, never fought for the world or a species or tribe, never pretended to be all good or all bad. Just some girl. Worth more than any of them. Just some girl, and she couldn’t give a crap about being stronger or smarter or better than anyone. Just some girl and she doesn’t rationalize right and wrong. And she’s not full of shadows and #*&% she can’t express.

Domino and Psylocke face each other. Psylocke begins to cry and doesn’t know why. Domino hugs her.

Just some girl who does not think the ends justify the means.

Volga screams then relents. He will tell the truth. There is no curing the virus. To get rid of Volga super soldier effect before it kills the subject? Hah! Only way is full psychic burnout. Strip every cell, every bone, every dream. Every scream. What is left? Nothing. So even if they can do body and soul purifying, only thing they actually cure is a pile of ash.

Dr. Nemesis joins them and agrees. This tech, it’s wrong to even call it a treatment. It’s more a surrogate nervous system, physical and psychic, all in one. A replacement form of life. Even he can’t understand it.

Cable stubbornly insists Volga could be lying and tells Nemesis to power up the Ion needles. He walks away.

Volga tells Marrow she never volunteered for the treatment, just the tests. He wanted an ex-mutant subject. So they drugged her and did the treatment anyway. They harvested her baby for weapon grade stem cells while she slept. Marrow reminds him she was aware of the risk. Why lie about that? Bad guy, he snorts. Hello?

Marrow kills him by impaling him with her bone spikes. Cable rushes to them too late. Marrow finds she feels great and hates that she’s feeling great.

Forget-Me-Not and Hope watch this. Everyone’s guilty, right? he asks. Cheer on the grimdark heroes. Except now and then there’s a mission with no outcome at all, making you wonder were you secretly cheering for the nasty #+$%& all along. Dejected, Hope asks why he brought her here. Referring to MeMe, he replies she wanted to show Hope something, to change the way she thinks. Why her? she asks, she’s just a girl. Moments later, she is horrified when she watches the video files Forget-Me-Not opened.

Five hours later, the members of X-Force have gathered around Hope’s comatose form. Cable stammers that they have come to say goodbye to MeMe, who isn’t really alive and to Hope going back to sleep. He promises her they will fix her when Nemesis interrupts him, telling him MeMe already died of some sort of chemical overdose, meaning Hope’s hologram is just a placeholder image. There’s nothing there. She is already back in her coma. Guess she didn’t feel like saying goodnight, Marrow mutters. Cable storms out.

Betsy looks pensive and Domino rudely asks what’s going on. Betsy feels that, even in her coma, Hope is angry and wonders what could have made her so.

Sitting, hidden and crying, Forget-Me-Not wishes both girls sweet dreams.

Characters Involved: 

Cable, Domino, Dr. Nemesis, Hope, Marrow, Psylocke (X-Force)


On screen:

In flashback:

Story Notes: 

Fantomex killed Forget-Me-Not in issue #10.

“Give in to your anger, Luke” is a quote from “Return of the Jedi.” 

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