X-Tinction Agenda #4

Issue Date: 
October 2015
Story Title: 

Marc Guggenheim (writer), Carmine Di Giandomenico (artist), Nolan Woodard (colorist), Virtual Caligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), David Nakayama (cover artist), Christina Harrington (assistant editor), Xander Jarowey (editor), Marc Paniccia (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

As Wolverine, Bombshell, Wolfsbane, Longshot and Ink stare at the resurrected Cameron Hodge, Bombshell, recently merged with the Techno-Organic Virus, leaps at Hodge and attacks him. Wolfsbane radios Havok in an attempt to alert him to the new problem, but he is struggling with a problem of his own, as the Press Gang and the Karma-possessed Rogue battle the X-Men. Graymalkin joins the battle after being freed from the cells. Havok then informs Rachel Grey that Wolfsbane has just told him Hodge is alive, but Rachel isn't convinced. Wolverine and Ink launch an assault on Hodge, to no avail. Bombshell attacks the madman with a large plasma burst, but even that isn't enough. Rachel is still arguing with Havok, until he tells her to look in Wolfsbane's mind and see what she is seeing – she does, and is horrified. Hodge's attack on the others is relentless, but when he captures Bombshell, this enrages Rictor, who arrives on scene and breaks up the ground beneath Hodge. Wolverine helps Bombshell, but Hodge just gets even madder and kills Rictor. Longshot attempts an attack next, keeping Hodge distracted while the others gather themselves. Bombshell gives everyone a moment's more respite as she unleashes an even larger plasma blast, furious about Rictor's death. Wolverine talks to Bulletproof for a time, as Bulletproof deals with the change that he has undergone during this battle. Havok, Rachel and the other members of the X-Men and Press Gang arrive. Mystique shifts into Archangel to distract Hodge, while Rogue takes Havok, Wolfsbane and Bombshell to a jet that hovers above. They have plan – the only way to take Hodge out. Rogue returns to the battle while Wolfsbane pilots that jet that Havok and Bombshell are on. Powered up, they fly directly into Hodge, causing a massive explosion. The remaining members of the Press Gang and X-Men gather in the aftermath, and Rachel announces that this is a new beginning for Genosha and X-City, while in the ruins of the Genegineer's lab, Warlock rises.

Full Summary: 

Genosha, thirty seconds after Cameron Hodge's resurrection, where the diabolical madman Hodge has been merged with the Transmode Virus, and his body is pushed from the Genegineer's lab by the Press Gang member Bulletproof, whose body has also recently been merged with the Transmode Virus. As they plummet to the ground below, Wolfsbane peers out over the edge of the opening in the wall, as four X-Men – Wolverine, Bombshell, Longshot and Ink – gather around her. The shirtless Wolverine declares that somebody better start explaining things to him in a way that makes sense, or else he is going to start slicing body parts off of folks. 'Cameron Hodge hates mutants. He was dead and now he isn't' Wolfsbane responds. 'She's succinct. You have to give her that' Bombshell points out, while Wolfsbane adds that Genegineer Kludge somehow managed to meld Hodge's remains with a Transmode Techno-Organic Virus. 'Transmode -? You mean like Warlock?' Bombshell asks. Wolfsbane touches the communicator in her ear and contacts Havok, informing him that they have a new problem.

'Sorry, Wolfsbane... I'm a little preoccupied at the moment with our old problem' Havok responds from where he and the other Press Gang members – Karma, Rictor, Wicked and Mystique – are battling Rachel Grey, Storm, Thunderbird, and Rockslide of the X-Men. The Press Gang have a possessed Rogue on their side, while Triage is running around somewhere in the battle.

Havok casts energy towards Rachel Grey, whose own energy is directed back at Havok. Wicked conjures some ghosts, while Karma controls Rogue, who attacks Rockslide. 'Sorry, Rogue. When you wake up, try to remember the only reason I hit you is you were under Karma's control!' Rockslide exclaims as he knocks Rogue out.

Suddenly: 'Stant down, Santo. That's an order' a voice calls out. Rockslide turns to see Rachel Grey a few feet behind him, holding a large weapon. 'Baron Grey? What's going on?' Rockslide asks. 'Don't you remember the briefing? The Genoshans have a shape-shifter. Moron' Mystique replies as she switches back to her default form and blasts Rockslide at close-range with the weapon. 'Rockslide!' Triage shouts as he rushes over to Mystique. Behind him, Habok can be seen blasting Storm, while Thunderbird is caught up in some ghosts conjured by Wicked. Triage asks Mystique if he is going to have to hurt her now, to which Mystique tells the younger mutant that he can try, but he better hope his healing power works on himself.

Havok tells Rachel as the two continue to blast each other with energy that she has to admit this is pretty ironic that she wouldn't come to Genosha to help them, but was more than happy to violate the quarantine to fight them. 'We came here to get back the teammates who your team kidnapped, Havok. Turn them over, unharmed, and we'll go' Rachel responds, when, suddenly, Graymalkin appears, announcing that Longshot already freed them. Rachel stops blasting Havok and asks Graymalkin where Wolverine and Bombshell are. Graymalkin informs her that they are with Longshot as they went to deal with Wolfsbane. Rachel looks over to Havok and tells him that it is over, he has lost. 'Hold tight to that thought – I'm talking to Rahne... she just told me that Cameron Hodge is alive...' Havok responds, delivering the bad news with a concerned look on his face.

'How long?!' Cameron Hodge booms as he extends his fingers, wrapping them around Bulletproof as if they were tentacles. 'How long have I been asleep?' he asks. Bulletproof morphs his body so that a shield comes up between him and Hodge. 'Don't ask me, pal. I'm still trying to figure out what that Techno-Virus gunk did to me' Bulletproof responds, adding 'Plus, I'm pretty sure you weren't asleep. You were dead'. He then tells Hodge that, from what he has heard that Hodge has done to mutants, he would prefer Hodge stayed that way. He lunges forward to strike Hodge, who replies 'You think you can hurt this body? How much of an idiot are you?' as he tears some of Bulletproof's body, and pushes him away. 'Lemme put it to you this way...at least as much as you're a flamin' #$%&#$&' Wolverine declares as he appears on a platform so that he is nearly at eye-level to the tall Hodge. 'See what you've done, Rahne? Take a good look. This is on you' Bombshell declares. 'Ye think I dinnae know? My heart is breaking' Wolfsbane snaps back. 'Get him, shorty. I've got you covered' Ink tells Wolverine as he drops through the air as Wolverine lunges towards Hodge, claws ready to strike. 'Perhaps...' Hodge begins. 'But who's covering you?' he asks Iink as he shoves a large spike through Ink's body.

'Ink!' Bombshell shouts. She prepares a large burst of plasma energy, 'Tabitha – don't!' Wolfsbane calls out. '3... 2... oh, to hell with it' she then fires the surge of energy towards Hodge, whose back is turned from her. 'Oh dear Lord, Bombshell...' Wolfsbane utters as she and Longshot dive for cover. But when the dust clears, Hodge still stands. 'You've gotta be kidding me... how is he still standing?' Wolverine snarls, while Bombshell, Wolfsbane and Longshot look up at their foe.

'I'm not kidding... and I'm not lying. Read my mind if you don't believe me' Havok tells Rachel Grey, who responds that she is, and that all it proves is that he believes what Wolfsbane told him. 'Is that what it's come to? Rachel, we've known each other for years. Have things gotten that bad between us? You have to listen to me. Hodge is back and he's more powerful than ever. And he's going to kill us all unless we work together'. Havok asks the Baron if she remembers when they used to do that. 'If it's so hard to trust me, don't. Reach out with your mind. See what Rahne is seeing...' Havok suggests. 'Oh my God' Rachel gasps. 'Look at what Hodge is doing...we have to stop him' Havok declares.

Hodge extends a hand to grab Bombshell and remarks that he and the Magistrates were wrong – they should never have enslaved mutantkind. 'Now you're talking -' Bombshell declares as she leaps into the air to dodge Hodge's attack – but he extends tendrils which wrap around her, and he finishes what he was saying – that the only good mutant is a dead one. Suddenly, the ground starts to break up around Hodge, 'You get your hands off her!' someone shouts, and the ground breaks apart completely, causing Hodge and Bombshell to plummet downwards – luckily Bombshell manages to latch on to the edge of the ground that remains in place. 'And it'd be really nice if you could shut up while you're at it!' Rictor tells Hodge, who releases some tendrils, enabling him to cling to the edge of the ground. Bombshell then calls out to Rictor: 'Be careful, love!' 'Love?' Rictor replies, surprised.

Wolverine reaches down to help Bombshell, while Hodge remarks 'Ah, yes, Rictor. I remember you... you dropped a building on me, as I recall'. Hodge then extends a sharp finger like a dart – straight through Rictor's head! 'Be grateful I'm killing you quickly!' Hodge declares. 'Julio! NO!' Bombshell screams.

Hodge manages to climb out of the hole and looms over the mutants. 'You muties call yourselves “Homo Superior”. Do you feel superior now?' he asks them. 'Is that a rhetorical question?' Longshot enquires, before rushing forwards with knives between his fingers, he informs Hodge that he is an alien from another dimension and not actually a mutant. 'Longshot, don't -!' Wolfsbane calls out. But Longshot dives and flips, dodging Hodge's blasts and asks Hodge if anyone has ever told him that he has anger issues? 'I bet a lot of people have, right?' Longshot adds. Bombshell and Wolfsbane use this time to go over to Rictor's body, 'Julio...it's not fair... we were going to be together...' Bombshell sobs. In the background, Hodge slams Wolverine to the ground, while Wolfsbane tells Bombshell that it isn't, but that this is not the time for morning. Tears streaming from her eyes, Bombshell gets up and turns to Hodge, 'I'm going to shove a bomb straight down his throat...' she exclaims as she creates a massive time bomb. 'Tabitha!' Wolfsbane gasps, while Longshot leaps to safety, 'A little warning next time, please!' he exclaims as the energy strikes Hodge at close range.

'This battle is going to do a lot of damage...' Rachel Grey announces as she hovers over Havok, Mystique, Storm and the others. She announces that they need to evacuate the immediate area of civilians, and instructs Thunderbird, Karma and Wicked to take care of that. She turns to Triage, who cuts her off, stating that he knows he has to treat all the wounded. Rachel suggests he start with Rockslide, as Mystique took him out. 'Oopsy' Mystique shrugs, while Havok asks Mystique to start messing with Hodge's head for a change. 'Thought you'd never ask' Mystique replies. Havok contacts Wolfsbane via the communicator and informs her that they have both teams working together now and that they have made a plan. 'We don't need a plan, luv...we need a miracle' Wolfsbane responds. Indeed, Hodge has increased his mass further and thrashes about while clutching Bombshell in one hand. Wolfsbane informs Havok that Hodge is figuring out what his new body can do, and that it is bad. 'I dinnae how we can beat him this time' Wolfsbane adds. Havok tells her not to worry, as help is on the way.

At that moment, Wolverine finds Bulletproof. 'You okay, Bub?' he asks. 'Name's Locke' Bulletproof replies. 'Yeah, well, the way you look now, I bet they'll be calling you “Warlocke” from now on' Wolverine jokes. Bulletproof tells Wolverine that it is the Techno-Virus, he got hit with the same stuff as Hodge. Wolverine suggests to Bulletproof that he use it, and get ready for round ten. 'Is that what we're up to?' Bulletproof asks. 'Feels like' Wolverine responds, before telling Bulletproof that he will show him a move he has just learned. 'It's called a “Fastball Special”!' and with that, Bulletproof tosses Wolverine through the air, enabling Wolverine to slice through the tendrils that are keeping Bombshell trapped. 'I'm sorry, was that supposed to hurt?' Hodge asks as he starts to re-form his arm. 'Oh, boy. This really isn't fair' Bulletproof remarks, while Hodge announces that this new body that the Genegineer created for him feels no pain. 'Well, you know what they say...day's young' Rachel remarks as she appears, hovering over Hodge, Havok, Storm, Mystique and the others are with her.

Hodge looks up to the new arrivals, 'Jean? No. You're not Jean Grey. You look like her, though. Tell me... do you die like her?' Hodge asks as he grabs the side of a partly-demolished building and topples it down on Rachel. 'Hodge just downed our biggest gun...' Havok exclaims as he finds Wolfsbane. She tells him that she knows, but that she thinks she has a plan. 'You have no idea how much I was hoping you'd say that' Havok tells her, while Rogue and Graymalkin gather nearby. Wolfsbane explains to Havok that they are going to need a distraction. 'Oh, that's no problem' Havok replies. 'I ordered one up' he reveals, as they turn and see Archangel standing behind them! Wolfsbane tells Havok that she loves him, when suddnely, 'YOU!' booms Hodge as he looks down and sees Archangel. 'You remember. That's sweet' Archangel responds. 'Then again, I'd be hurt if you didn't remember me chopping your head off' Archangel adds. 'C'mon, while we've got him distracted' Wolverine calls out as the others start to gather around Archangel. 'Caught you looking, you $%&#$%' Bulletproof exclaims as he launches himself into Hodge. Archangel's form gives way to that of Mystique, and Wolverine tells her that she did a nice job. 'Now move! Don't let up on him!' Wolverine calls out to everyone as he and Graymalkin rush forward.

'On yer feet, luv. We've still got work to do' Wolfsbane tells Bombshell, helping her up. As the others attack Hodge, Havok tells Rogue that they are going to need a lift. 'Coming up' Rogue replies, telling Havok that this is insane as she lifts him, Wolfsbane and Bombshell towards the jet hovering in the air above. Inside, she tells them that what they are planning is insane. Havok announces that it is the only way to take out Hodge. 'No. We can find another way' Rogue replies. 'We started this, it's on us to finish it' Havok declares. 'Not like this, Alex. Not this way -' Rogue begins, but Havok points out that they don't have time to debate it. He instructs her to get back down there and clear the area of friendlies. 'Alex -' Rogue begins, but Havok tellls her to go, as they have this. 'All right. Good luck...and goodbye' Rogue calls back as she flies out of the jet. Wolfsbane turns to Bombshell and asks her if she is sure about this. 'This is a one-way trip...' Wolfsbane's voice trails off, but Bombshell clenches her fists and exclaims 'He killed Julio...now fly this bucket'.

Wolfsbane takes the controls, and asks Havok if he is ready. The jet blasts forward, and Havok replies that he does not know if he is ready for what happens next, but he is ready to end this. 'Tabitha? Are you set?' he asks over the communicator. 'I will be in 3...' Bombshell responds, huge bombs of plasma growing at each side of her. '2...' Tabitha continues her countdown, while Wolfsbane starts to cry, she tells Havok that she is sorry, but she can't help feel this is all their fault. She tells Alex that she loves him, and Alex replies over the communicator that he loves Rahne, too, with all his heart. Surging with energy, the jet approaches Hodge, 'And what's this?' he asks, as Tabitha declares '...1'. Combined with Havok's plasma energy, 'This is for Genosha, you #$%&#$%&' Havok shouts as the energy collides with Hodge, and a huge wave of energy washes over Genosha.

Later, amongst the ruins of Genosha, the remaining X-Men and Press Gang members have gathered together, and Rachel releases them all from an energy bubble. Bulletproof asks if they are sure Hodge is dead, and reminds everyone that he has come back before. Rachel reports that she has psi-scanned the area, and confirms that Hodge is gone. 'Are you super-duper sure? Because – no offense, Rachel – you just had a building get dropped on your head' Rockslide remarks. Rachel declares that is why she alos had Wolverine scour every inch of the crash site with his enhanced senses. 'So what do we do now?' Longshot asks. Rachel annnounces that they bury their dead, mourn them, then they set to work on rebuilding the country they died defending. 'That's not gonna be easy...' Rockslide remarks. 'No it won't be. Consider it our penance. And maybe something more...' Rachel replies. '...a new beginning' she announces. 'For what?' Bulletproof asks. 'For us. For too long, X-City and Genosha have stood apart' Rachel declares. The other survivors gather around her as she exclaims that this tragedy should remind them that they are not Genoshans and citizens of X-City – they are X-Men.

In the remains of Genegineer Kludge's laboratory, some encrypted contents of his journal appearv on a screen in which the Genegineer reveals he has devised a means to reanimate Magistrate Hodge's severed head, but that the question of a suitable host body has remained a challenge – until now, for after much effort, he has managed to extract enough of the ashes of the X-Man called “Warlock” from the gravesite of a “Douglas Ramsey”, and he believes he can culture the Transmode Virus therein to replicate it and thereby create a replacement body for Mr Hodge. Kludge's journal indicates that the process will require the stimulation of Warlock's remains, but fortunately, he believes the powers possessed by the mutant known as “Triage” are sufficient for this task. Kludge signed off the entry by remarking 'Who knows what the intersection of science, mutants... and destiny might bring?'

And in the lab, the black and yellow Transmode strands that remain start to intertwine and meld together – until a grinning Warlock stands amongsat the rubble and asks 'Self...alive?'

Characters Involved: 

Bulletproof, Havok, Karma, Mystique, Rictor, Wicked, Wolfsbane (all Press Gang)

Bombshell, Graymalkin, Baron Rachel Grey, Ink, Longshot, Maggott, Nightcrawler, Rockslide, Rogue, Storm, Thunderbird, Triage, Wolverine (all X-Men)


Cameron Hodge

Story Notes: 

Archangel sliced Hodge's head off in the classic X-Factor (1st series) #34.

In X-Tinction Agenda #2, Tempus was clearly seen transporting the Press Gang back to Genosha, but she remained absent for the remainder of the series.

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