X-Force: Shatterstar #3

Issue Date: 
June 2005
Story Title: 
World Against One: <BR>Chapter 8: Identity <BR>Chapter 9: Where Dreams May Come And Die <BR>Chapter 10: The Assistant <BR>Chapter 11: Man Down

Chapters 8-11: Rob Liefeld (plot), Brandon Thomas (writer), Marat Mychaels (pencils), Matt Yackey (colors), VC’s Rus Wooton (letters), Sean Ryan (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (associate editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Though Shatterstar at first fails to convince Cable that he’s from another Earth, they talk things out after fighting together. Cable takes Shatterstar to his headquarters, where Cable explains that he leads a small resistance force fighting Spiral, whom they have come to know as Apocalypse. Meanwhile, inside her floating palace, Spiral makes love to her prisoner Sunspot, whom she imprisoned six months earlier. After being informed that Cable is still alive, Spiral leaves Bobby to attend matters. He leaves their room, and after fighting some guards, finds the blade. He reports back to Cable and his friends, who get the message, but Bobby himself gets knocked out and stripped off his powers by Spiral. Together with their Lockheeds as flight vehicles, Cable, Shatterstar and the other members of the resistance fly over to Spiral’s palace, where each side prepares for a final confrontation.

Full Summary: 

Chapter 8:

A confused Shatterstar stands face to face with his old friend Cable and begs Nathan to explain what has happened. Cable, with a glowing eye, congratulates the “assassin” as his appearance did temporarily confuse him, but mentions that it will take more than a familiar face to bring him down. An even more confused Shatterstar corrects that he isn’t an assassin, and wants to know what the place is they are in now. Cable is still headstrong that he isn’t dealing with the real Shatterstar, and responds that faking ignorance won’t help him, as he saw the real Shatterstar die right in front of him! Shatterstar knows that’s impossible, since… no! Spiral. What has she done?!

He stands up, and asks Cable to listen to him. He knows this will be hard to explain and even more to clearly understand, but Shatterstar fears he has become unhinged from the natural timestream, perhaps even shuttled to a parallel Earth of some sort. He explains that, in the place he calls home, he has not yet perished and that they remain the most trusted of allies: they’ve even saved worlds together. Cable has no idea what Shatterstar is talking about, but he knows that the man he knew as Shatterstar is long dead. He doesn’t understand how Shatterstar could wear his face, but yet proclaim he is not Cable’s old friend.

Shatterstar shouts that this is all Spiral’s doing. She has used her holograms and dimensional portals to change everything. It seems that even history bends to her will? He wonders how he could possible stop her. He asks Nathan to wait, as he hears something. A big thing falls down behind them, and the impact causes both mutants to fall down. Shatterstar notices that the blast came from the tree line behind them. Cable thinks they area dealing with Snipers, firing long-range pulse cannons. He wants them to move, though he is curious how they found them so quickly, thinking Shatterstar is the culprit.

Shatterstar mentions that he doesn’t even know where this place is, and makes it clear that if Cable has been betrayed, it was certainly not by him. Cable suddenly opens his eyes wide in panic, suggesting that they postpone their conversation, as they have more urgent concerns. Three big dinosaur-like creatures appear out of nowhere, and start chasing them. Cable warns to take cover up ahead, but Shatterstar won’t. He won’t let any more wasted moments be a joy to Spiral, and decides to take the initiative. He slices his sword through one of the dinosaurs, and kills it. Next, he asks Cable to explain what this world is all about, so he can fully understand what has been done to him.

While joining the battle, Cable explains that Shatterstar landed in the middle of a war. It is a war that Cable and his people have been waging for nearly three cycles, and unfortunately they aren’t winning. Nathan mentions that his strike force is all that remains of the resistance, and their enemy knows it, plus her attacks grow more frenzied with each day. Shatterstar asks if the “her” Cable is talking about is Spiral. Cable thinks that if they are speaking of the same six-armed mistress of death, it is. But Cable and his people have come to know her by another name: Apocalypse!

And the creatures they are now fighting, serve her. Shatterstar notices that one of them still stands. He makes an impressive backwards jump, and lands one the dinosaur’s head. Striking his sword on its skull, the monster screams and collapses. Shatterstar triumphs. Cable confesses that he hasn’t seen a man fight like that for a very long time. He can hardly believe it, but he has to admit that Shatterstar is the genuine article. Shatterstar apologizes, as he didn’t mean to open old wounds. He only wants answers to what Spiral has unleashed. And, if she truly killed Cable’s people, he’ll make her pay for it.

Cable goes towards the fallen dinosaur creature, and takes its pilot out of the hatch. Cable suggests that they ask the question to him. But the pilot refuses to answer but, if he would, he admits that he would only answer things Cable would already know, namely that there isn’t, and never was, any hope for him to win this war. The pilot even mocks that Cable must be made to suffer, as everyone he cares for dies while he himself still lives. Shatterstar tells Cable to leave the pilot, as something else, more dangerous, approaches them.

Shatterstar is correct. Host demons emerge from the bushes behind them. Shatterstar is confident that they’ll defeat them. He and Cable join forces and fight the demons together. Cable mentions how he missed this. Suddenly, one of the demons notices an opening and jumps straight at Shatterstar. Luckily, a big, angry hulking being slashes the demon with his claws! The being thinks Cable finally lost it, as they all know that Shatterstar is dead.

It’s Caliban! He can see how Cable could have been fooled though, as this Shatterstar looks and probably talks like their friend, but Shatterstar isn’t him. Caliban knows that because his scent is all wrong. He would think that Apocalypse was going to waste their time with an obvious fake like this, she would go for something a little less obvious, something that at least smells like it should be. Apocalypse must think that they have forgotten the time a similar event like this took place. Caliban angrily recalls that the moment everyone’s back turned, this certain “old friend” went to kill as many of his old friends as he could find. And Caliban won’t let that happen again on his watch. He even tells Shatterstar to go back to his “mistress.” Shatterstar swears that he isn’t their enemy, but Cable stops them. He realizes exactly how this looks, but finds this neither the place nor the time. They are exposed, and must fall back to the outpost and find out the truth there.

Chapter 9:

Shatterstar and Cable stand on a balcony in his sky-high headquarters. Cable apologizes in Caliban’s name, as there was an incident several months prior. One of their people, a boy named Samuel, returned from the dead and was quickly welcomed back within the keep. But he was different. Changed somehow, but all wrong. Shatterstar mentions that, on his world, Spiral didn’t possess the power to corrupt a man after his death. He wonders if there is no evil she can’t accomplish, or anything beyond her reach. Cable doesn’t think so, at least nothing they haven’t seen. He explains that the first thing Apocalypse did was to rip her kingdom from the ground, suspending it above everyone’s head. On this world, death often comes from the skies. He tells Shatterstar to look up, and they both see Spiral’s palace floating above them.

Cable adds that it wasn’t always like this. Once, there was peace before Apocalypse came to their lands, emerging from an energy portal, very similar to the one that brought Shatterstar here. She attacked Cable’s crew almost instantly. They discovered that her power stems from a blade that drinks deeply of the blood of its victims. And Cable’s foolish judgments provided Apocalypse many victims. He mentions that all the people Shatterstar has seen in the headquarters are the remnants of the resistance. Their final, most desperate play at victory has failed, though Cable must admit it never stood a great chance at success. They persist, merely to aggravate Apocalypse’s efforts, deciding that it’s better to die on one’s feet.

Shatterstar fears that this is all his doing. He chased Spiral into this place, and to see Cable like this, completely without hope injures him more than he can say. Cable has come to accept his fate. He explains that there are some among the resistance who subscribed to a belief. A prophecy even, that a group of them were destined to somehow overthrow Apocalypse. But alas, those people are all dead now. Shatterstar asks Cable if he refers to the prophecy of the Twelve. Twelve hundred, Cable corrects. Now, he further mentions, only he and a handful of others remain. Shatterstar wants to know what hope they have.

Cable explains that this final assault he spoke of, it placed one of his soldiers within Apocalypse’s domain. He tasked with gaining her confidence and, in turn, access to the sacred blade. This man has now been inside her palace for six months, and stopped logging weekly reports after his second. Cable hopes that, if he is fortunate, Roberto DaCosta is already dead. For if he still lives, Cable fears, it is likely that Apocalypse is subjecting him to all manners of torture and torments, which is a fate often worse than death. Who knows what horrors Roberto is being made to experience.

Chapter 10:

Inside her palace, Spiral and Bobby are… making love! Bobby notices Spiral being unusually excited today and asks if anything is wrong. Spiral answers far from it, as all is terribly well. She knows her dominion over this world is nearly complete, and Cable’s tired rebellion is at an end. Now, she finds herself considering the future. Spiral suggests that she and Bobby could travel the multiverse together, enslaving every world in their path. She asks Bobby if he would like that. Bobby would find that an honor and would follow Spiral to the ends of this Earth and all others, and will remain hers.

One of Spiral’s followers, Neimus, enters the room. He apologizes and asks for a word. Bobby yells at Neimus for his lousy timing. Neimus ignores the remark, and explains that Cable is still alive, which he thinks is a bit more important that Spiral’s duties here. Spiral defenses that Neimus shouldn’t presume that he is in a position to dictate importance to him. She is quite aware of the warrior’s continued refusal to perish, and she simply doesn’t care. She thinks that Cable offers minimal threat and is hardly the issue at hand. With a serious look, she responds that she is not to be disturbed in her personal chambers. She punches Neimus in the face with her sword, and demands that he tells her he understands.

Leaving both Neimus and Bobby, Spiral puts on some clothes and goes to quickly attend to this. She doesn’t want Bobby to leave the room, as she might need him when she comes back. Bobby quietly takes a drink and hesitates in responding. After that, he replies that he’ll do as Spiral wishes.

Some time later, Bobby does leave the room and goes deeper down the hall, but stops when he meets some guards. They mock that they are surprised that the queen’s personal “assistant” is allowed to leave for some air. Bobby smiles that Zynn shouldn’t be so jealous. He knows that the queen requires a warrior of exceptional talents to stand beside her, and that it’s hardly his fault that Zynn lacks those gifts in so many respects. He orders the guard to stand aside. Zynn won’t obey, as nobody is permitted to enter the room behind him, not even Bobby is.

Sunspot powers up, and knocks the guards down. He enters the room, and finds the blade in a large room, secured inside a cubic hole. Bobby opens a psychic link, and after entering the codeword of “Guthrie,” he orders a priority transmission to Cable, reporting that he has found the blade and Code Green is to be followed. Though Spiral appears from behind, mentioning that she knew that Bobby’s betrayal would happen today. She has waited a long time for Bobby to find the courage to step into this room. Spiral explains that when she opened her eyes this morning, there was something different. A sensation she couldn’t place. It was then she realized that this day would show Bobby’s true allegiance.

She punches Bobby hard in the face, making him de-power and fall down. Spiral mentions that Cable is predictable, and that Bobby’s failure marks the true endgame. Bobby should be thankful, she mocks, that his presence offered some enjoyment, for she could not stomach his cowardice for one more month. She mentions to Bobby that he merely ended up in the dungeons. Spiral explains that she has stripped Bobby of his powers and mission. She wants him to apologize, and perhaps she’ll show some mercy. Bobby would rather die, and tells Apocalypse to do her best. She intends to.

Chapter 11:

Caliban asks Cable if he’s sure about this. Cable explains he taught Bobby the technique, and is certain it really was Bobby’s distress call and he believes Bobby succeeded in retrieving the blade. Tabitha noticed the transmission wasn’t complete. Cable shouts in question what Tabitha wants him to do. Leave Bobby there? Meltdown explains that none of them are suggesting that. He knows more than anyone what Bobby means to her. Cable becomes sad. He believed Bobby to be dead, but still he continued on the mission he tasked him with. Cable tells his people they can chose to stay or follow him, as they have his undying gratitude for their longtime services. He goes over to giant Lockheeds, and wants them prepared for action.

Shatterstar hates to echo the resistance’s suspicions, but he thinks this is quite convenient. The very day he emerges from a portal that Spiral led him into, Bobby is finally able to relay an urgent message. Cable likes to think that, perhaps, not all hope is lost. All he knows for now is that Bobby is still alive in there, and Cable aims to see that Bobby stays that way. Cable accepts that Shatterstar isn’t the man he knew, but feels that this is hardly his concern. Shatterstar can stay if he wants. Shatterstar won’t, as he promises to pledge himself to Cable’s cause and will follow wherever he’ll take him. Besides, he wants some explanations from Spiral, and reverse the damage she has done, and will see her die at his hands. Shatterstar climbs aboard one of the Lockheeds, and wants to go save the world.

Everyone else also follows, but Cable makes it clear to them that this is strictly a search and rescue operation: they find Sunspot and find an exit. Anything further is too dangerous and not necessary at this point. Everyone understands and they leave, with Cable hoping that the Askani will preserve them all.

Spiral notices them arriving, and has well prepared herself. Guarded with her own, super-powered costumed troops, Spiral orders them that none of Cable’s group is to leave alive, and furthermore, they must bring forth her Age of Apocalypse!

Characters Involved: 


Spiral/Apocalypse II

Cable, Caliban, Meltdown, Sunspot, one unclear member (alternate versions)

Lockheeds (alternate versions)

Counselor Neimus, Zynn (named followers of Spiral)

Guards, Host demons, Snipers (other followers of Spiral)

Story Notes: 

Spiral uses her alias of Apocalypse for the first time.

First appearance of Neimus, Zynn, the Host demons and the Sniper dinosaurs, though they aren’t named individually.

It’s unclear, but one member in the alternate Cable’s team appears to be one of the Bedlam brothers. Most likely it’s Jesse, as he joined X-Force in the 616 Universe.

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