X-Force (6th series) #2

Issue Date: 
January 2019
Story Title: 
The Sword of Damocles

Benjamin Percy (writer), Joshua Cassara (artist), Dean White (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Dustin Weaver (cover artist), Jorge Zaffino (variant cover artist), Nick Russell (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Krakoa is shocked at the death of Professor X, which might bring down their whole society. Magneto urges Marvel girl to hurry along his resurrection and she asks Beast to bring up another Cerebro unit. Sage and Cecilia examine the bodies of their attackers. Apart from the stripes of white skins, all of their attackers are enhanced. Wolverine follows the trace they left to Seoul airports where he finds Kid Omega, who has already hacked their systems. They find the way to the origin of the men, a place where enhanced body parts are created. Suddenly, tThe bodies attack them and, to their horror, they find a partially skinned Domino.

Full Summary: 

A shocked and horrified crowd of mutants stands around the corpse of Professor Xavier, who was shot moments ago. Floating, Magneto muses, if he had only been there, he could have stopped the bullet. If only Charles were made of metal, he might put him back together. If only… old friend. He raises the bloodied Cerebro helmet. This was Charles’ plan, Charles’ island, Charles’ future and will remain so… if only he returns to them. He wouldn’t want to imagine what would happen without him.

They don’t have to, Marvel Girl replies, telekinetically rising to face him. He knew this could happen. They knew this could happen. That doesn’t make seeing him down there any easier, but there is a back-up system in place. They can fix this. She thinks she can bring him back.

She thinks? Magneto repeats. He transforms the helmet into a sword. She will. She must! Jean corrects herself, that’s what she meant. He warns her that they won’t be able to hide this for long. A terrible clock has started ticking. And if they are wrong and the resurrection doesn’t work… Jean replies she knows what’s at stake.

A little later, Jean and Beast stand outside a blocked cave. Jean telekinetically frees the entrance to the hidden Cradle One. As she does so, Beast muses he doesn’t understand why Charles allowed himself to be so vulnerable. From the moment, he declared mutant sovereignty, he must have felt the sword of Damocles hovering over him. He must have known, it would one day fall. Of course, he knew, Jean replies. That’s why they are here. But Charles didn’t want to act like a king, even though he wore the crown.

She walks towards the Cerebro helmet resting on a plinth. She explains that at any time only one version of Cerebro can be live. Charles backed up the intelligence to multiple cradles throughout the island. They need Beast to bring Cerebro back online. So they can bring Charles back.

The Healing Gardens:
Cecilia Reyes performs an autopsy on the assassins and lets Black Tom and Sage know what she’s learned, namely that they have oversized lungs and adrenal glands, no fingerprint and their skeletons are protected by reinforced periosteum. Each of them has an extra bone housed in their forearm, shaped like a blade, presumably meant as a weapon.

Sage summarizes they are outfitted like Reavers but are Olympic level human assassins. While Black Tom berates himself for Xavier’s death, Sage is puzzled about the white skin strips they all display.

Wolverine wants to know how many are still alive. Barely the one, is the tart reply by the Morlock Healer. No thanks to him. He tells them to keep him alive but not to make him comfortable.

Sage asks if that one has the skin graft as well. She joins them and explains that, when Black Tom first alerted her to a possible breach, she dismissed it, because the island identified the arriving party as Domino. They grafted her skin on their own.

Wolverine tells her to call Jean. She needs to get in this assassin’s head while he still has a pulse. They need to know everything he knows, including whether Domino is still alive or dead. If she’s dead, kickstart her resurrection, so they can get her final memories. Sage retorts why he doesn’t ask Jean himself. He’s going hunting, is the reply.

Seoul Incheon,
International airport, South Korea
Wolverine has taken out the security personnel and is accessing the computers in the tower. He learns the assassins came by air. He starts when he is surprised by another guard but, before the man can do anything, he freezes.  

Wolverine announces, he’d be surprised, but he’d know that stink anywhere, Mix up some body spray and strawberry soda with a dash of locker room funk. And you get…

… Kid Omega, Quentin Quire grins. Wolverine asks if Sage sent him He doesn’t take orders, Quire demurs. He’s here because the professor finally realizes what Quentin preached all along: mutants are superior. Or at least he is. Whoever did this to the professor might as well have done it to him, Quentin continues his questionable flight of logic. So they are his to punish.

Wolverine suggests, Quentin head back to whatever Krakoan preschool he escaped from. Quentin scoffs at him and suggests he not pretend competence. What was he going to do, see if 1-2-3 worked as the password? Or maybe “cigar” or “bourbon?” He begins hacking the computer, while Wolverine demands how he knows his password. Because he can see inside his thick skull and it looks like a spent ashtray in a Depression era hobo bar, he is told. He wasn’t following here but already leaving. He has already processed the assassin’s false IDs and scoured the surveillance footage. He has spotted the license plate of the vehicle they arrived in and accessed the MOCT database. And while he did that, he went to Amazon and maxed out Wolverine’s credit card. He doesn’t have a credit card. Logan points out. He does now, Quentin grins, and a truly miserable credit score. Now follow him, if he wants to stab something

Beast is working on Cerebro while Jean telepathically urges him on. This is a race not only against their enemies, but also to stay united.

Outside Seoul, Quentin and Wolverine have followed the trail to a printing press. Still arguing they make their way inside, taking care of the guards. Wolverine dislikes Quentin’s mutant supremacist stance. Inside, they find what is being “printed” are not books, but human enhanced organs – even whole nervous systems. It’s an assassin factory!

Sage is examining the bodies, finding surprises, e.g. spools of wire instead of cartilage in the ears, making a handy tool or weapon. The teeth were filled with explosive putty. One could say they are cheating evolution, she tells Jean Grey. They aren’t supermen, but one day engineering might make them that, Jean finishes. Sage ventures that Jean is probably upset about her letting Logan go. Jean replies he should have consulted the Quiet Council, but Sage couldn’t have stopped him.

Jean tries to go into the survivor’s mind.

Looking at an almost finished but skinless body hanging from the ceiling, Kid Omega opines it must be awful, knowing you are not enough. He’d feel sorry for humans if they weren’t so disgustingly pathetic. This lab is like a chapel dedicated to their insecurity. He doesn’t notice the man opening his eyes.

Wolverine points out that he is also pissed off about Chuck, but if Xavier were here he’d slap Quentin upside the head for that kind of talk. He knows what Magneto says, but mutants ain’t gods and humans ain’t devils. He turns around to see the body grabbing Quentin.

Wolverine attacks him and slices him up while Quentin panics as his powers aren’t working. He wants t get out! Logan replies this is what they came for. He’s got fists, he’s go feet, he’s got teeth! He fights off the other bodies come to life and tells Quentin they are trying to hide something or someone -  find her!

Quentin enters the next room and in a large tube he sees Domino, being kept alive but large parts of skin on her right side are missing…

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Black Tom, Domino, Kid Omega, Marvel Girl, Cecilia Reyes, Sage, Wolverine


Story Notes: 

Text pages:
Assassination Query: basically a report on the death of Xavier (and 33 other mutants)

The Strange Case of Phineas Hook: a report on how Domino investigated a series of shell companies owned by people with anti-mutant links. She was led to one Phoneas Hook and followed him to Seoul, where she disappeared. Later research showed that Hook doesn’t exist, leading to the conclusion that Domino was lured into a trap

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