X-Force (3rd series) #17

Issue Date: 
September 2009
Story Title: 
Not Forgotten: Part One

Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost (writers), Mike Choi & Sonia Oback (artists), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer and producer), Jody LeHeup (assistant editor), John Barber (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

X-23 returns from the future in time to kill the Leper Queen and save Boom-Boom, but moments after her return, H.A.M.M.E.R. agents storm the facility and take her into custody. A trio of Frost Giants attacks Wolfsbane and Hrimhari at Angel’s Aerie. At the United Nations in New York City, Steven Lang and Bolivar Trask, both under the control of Bastion, deliver a speech about the omnipresent mutant threat and propose a solution: the Mutant Response Division, a branch of well-trained soldiers equipped with Sentinel technology. Meanwhile, right outside, the Sapien League prepares to unleash Surge and Hellion—both of whom are essentially human time-bombs due to their Legacy Virus infection—on the United Nations, but the young mutants break loose. Wolverine and Archangel arrive in time to rescue them from their captors and Elixir purges Hellion of the Legacy Virus, but before he can do the same to Surge, her powers flare out of control.

Full Summary: 

The Sapien League warehouse. 1.3 seconds after chronal extraction…

“No… they were… they were supposed to kill me,” a voice says from the other end of a temporal tunnel. “He won’t let me kill myself… Bastion won’t let me die!” The image at the end of the tunnel slowly becomes clearer as the traveler approaches. The Leper Queen—a burn-scarred, bald-headed woman in military fatigues—holds a gun to the head of a blonde-haired girl in a red dress kneeling on the ground: Boom-Boom. “Oh, god… please help me!” the Leper Queen laughs. “They were supposed to kill me…” Before the Leper Queen can pull the trigger, she senses something approaching from behind. She turns and, to her surprise, beholds a battered X-23 emerging from a tunnel running through the fabric of time.

X-23 fires her handgun in rapid succession. Two of her shots hit the Leper Queen in the chest, while another bores a hole through the middle of her head. With her dying breath, the Leper Queen thanks X-23 and collapses to the ground.

“Thass… messed up,” the drug-addled Boom-Boom says. X-23, meanwhile, collapses from exhaustion. Although she needs to get to the United Nations building to rescue Julian, she doesn’t have the energy even to stay conscious.

Mere moments after X-23 passes out, a swarm of agents from H.A.M.M.E.R. crash through the warehouse windows and blow the doors off their hinges. The agents surround her and X-23. Once they secure the room and verify the incapacitation of their targets, they signal their commanding officers to enter. In walk Agents Young and Morales. Young congratulates his soldiers on their good work, but Morales wonders why they deserve the praise. As far as she can tell, H.A.M.M.E.R. didn’t do anything. She wonders what the hell happened, though. What happened is they captured two high-priority targets, Agent Young answers. He doesn’t care how it went down.

Morales approaches the barely-conscious Boom-Boom and checks on her condition. Is she all right? What is her name? When Boom-Boom doesn’t answer, Morales introduces herself. “I’m with S.H…” She hesitates for a brief moment. “I’m with H.A.M.M.E.R. Can you tell us what happened here?”

“Drrrugssssss…” Boom-Boom replies.

Agent Young, meanwhile, levels his pistol at X-23 and issues orders to his men. Morales interjects that the girl in the red dress needs medical attention. The Leper Queen, on the other hand, does not, as she is clearly dead. Boom-Boom tries to inform Agent Morales about the threat the other kidnapped mutants pose to the United Nations building, but Morales, possibly presuming she’s delirious, assures her they will get her to a hospital right away.

The H.A.M.M.E.R. agents slap a pair of handcuffs on X-23. Agent Young watches, satisfied he finally got his target. Morales lifts Boom-Boom off the ground and requests a medical evacuation from Agent Young; she wants their best people waiting for the girl when she arrives at the hospital. Because she is their only witness, no one is to get near her without Morales’s authorization. She finds, however, that her request falls on deaf ears, as Agent Young only cares about taking X-23 into custody. As soon as his men haul her away, he compliments Agent Morales on a perfect operation and invites her to come along to prep their prisoner for interrogation. With uncertainty, she consents.

Angel’s Aerie. Colorado…

Snow falls on Warren Worthington III’s Colorado residence. Inside, Rahne Sinclair lies on a fur-skinned rug in front of a roaring fireplace with her companion, the Wolf Prince Hrimhari. “What are you thinking about?” she asks him.

“You,” he answers. If that’s the case, he’d better stop, Rahne says. She can feel his heart beating so fast it might burst. Hrimhari says that would be the second occasion in which death claimed him. First it was Ragnarok, now it’s Rahne Sinclair. How much can the fragile heart of an immortal endure? Rahne, stroking his chin, tells him his heart doesn’t feel fragile. She feels a light tremor. It might be best if they take a small break, she suggests. His entire body is shaking.

Hrimhari sits up. That wasn’t him, he says. Rahne asks what he means. The rumbling grows louder, culminating in a loud BOOOM!! Rahne and Hrimhari stand up, shift into their transitional, lupine forms and try to maintain their balance as the tremors shake the home’s very foundation. Suddenly, the roof lifts off the house, and the moonlight creates the shadow of a large, horned creature over Rahne and Hrimhari. Rahne asks her god for help, while Hrimhari looks up at the three towering, malicious figures in disbelief. “Time to die, little prince,” the Frost Giants say.

The United Nations. New York City…

Steven Lang, addressing the general assembly of the United Nations, speaks of the looming mutant threat. Although this threat has loomed over the world for years, in recent months it seemed to subside. With the destruction of Genosha and the supposed ‘depowering’ of mutants on M-Day, some even believed the threat was over. They were wrong, Lang states. The hospital massacre in Alaska and the bombings in Iowa and Wyoming are all the evidence one needs to see that. What was once a war has evolved into terrorism. Mutants do not answer to any laws or government, American or otherwise. Lang asserts that they must unite and fight the mutant threat before it engulfs the world. If not, surely they will all die alone.

“With all due respect, Mister Lang, Mister Trask—let’s cut to the chase,” says Israeli Delegate Gabrielle Haller. They intend to restart the Sentinel program, don’t they? To seek global support for a program that has proven to be as much of a threat to humans as the actions of a few radical extremists is folly, and she declares Israel will not support it.

Bolivar Trask begins to speak, but halts abruptly as Bastion remotely overrides his body. Bastion asserts that the failures of previous Sentinel programs were the result of human error and corruption. Trask speaks these words for his master, adding—as per Bastion’s orders—that this is not the purpose of the day’s assembly.

Outside the United Nations building, in a van parked by the curb, members of the Sapien League prepare their living bombs for detonation. “Time to die, genescum,” one of the men in the van says to Noriko Ashida, a.k.a. Surge. His colleague tells him to be careful around the girl; she’ll singe the hair right off his head. A third Sapien League terrorist holds a gun to the head of Julian Keller and tells his colleagues to open the doors. “I’ve got prettyboy,” he says.

“You’ve got nothing… you redneck… flatscan… pieces of #!?@,” Julian says. He unleashes a full-body, telekinetic shockwave. The force of his attack knocks all three terrorists off their feet. Hellion breaks the chain on his handcuffs prepares to do the same for Nori. When he finally looks at her, however, he clearly sees her powers starting to flare out of control. With electricity pouring out of her eyes and through the pores of her body, Surge warns Hellion to get away; she can’t control her powers!

The driver of the van, meanwhile, sees the situation escalating in the back of the vehicle and radios in for backup.

Inside the United Nations, Lang continues his speech. He asks the delegates to make no mistake about the very real threat mutantkind poses. “And any one of them that remain could have the power to destroy us all. Every single one of us in this building, we live our lives at the whim of these creatures,” Lang says. “No more, we say.” He proposes an agency created with the sole purpose of monitoring and dealing with the mutant threat on a global level.

Outside, a crowd of anti-mutant protestors holds up signs in support of Lang and Trask’s anti-mutant legislation. In the van behind the protestors, however, an eruption of eerie green energy and electricity blows open the vehicle’s back doors.

“Today is about humanity standing united in the face of terror—mutant terror,” Lang continues. The screen behind him flashes the image of armored men saluting the American flag while fighter jets fly overhead. “We present… the Mutant Response Division.”

Meanwhile, Hellion tumbles out of the back of the van, his body aglow with telekinetic energy and surging with electricity.

Inside, Lang states the Mutant Response Division combines the next generation of Sentinel technology with the best soldiers humanity has to offer. It will police mutantkind all across the world. With support and funding from the United Nations, the M.R.D. can take the fight to mutant terrorists wherever they are, in any nation. With their technology, mutants will not be able to hide.

Outside, a new group of Sapien League terrorists grabs and restrains Hellion. They hurry to get him up the stairs to the U.N. building, as they do not have much time. Hellion, meanwhile, calls for Nori.

Surge, her body exuding electricity, lunges out of the back of the van. This is what our enemy can do, Lang tells the U.N. delegates. “They do not care if we are American, Russian, Israeli, Arab, Black or White. They only care that we are human. And all they want is to replace us as the dominant species on the planet by any means necessary.”

Overwhelmed by her powers, Surge screams. The members of the Sapien League struggle to restrain her. However, they find they cannot even approach her, as she sends electrical pulses through their bodies.

Lang states they must not let this happen. For every day they wait, the mutant threat grows. Every single mutant that walks the planet is a bomb waiting to explode. He advises they not live in fear, and instead take action. They must stop the mutant threat before it’s too late.

Outside, the anti-mutant terrorist restraining Hellion orders his men to tranquilize Surge so they can transport her to the target. Before they can respond, something severs off the top halves of their heads. The man restraining Hellion asks what happened. Julian tells him that he’s dead—he just doesn’t know it yet.

At that precise moment, Wolverine approaches from Hellion’s left side and obliterates both the man’s head and torso with a swift swipe of his adamantium claws. While Wolverine tears the men on the streets to shreds, up above, Archangel picks off those who remain with projectile fletchettes fired from his metal wings.

Surge, meanwhile, grows frantic as her powers flare out of control. Elixir arrives and calls out to her, urging her to hold on for as long as she can. Surge lets out an agonized scream.

Wolverine notices Surge’s attempted escape and orders Warren to retrieve her. Because of his bloodlust, however, Warren doesn’t hear Wolverine’s orders. Instead, he continues slicing body parts off of the members of the Sapien League.

Elixir hurries over to Hellion and grabs him by the hands. Julian asks how he got there. As Josh purges the Legacy Virus from his friend’s body, he tells him it’s a long story and asks him to hang on.

Wolverine grabs Archangel from behind and restrains him. He needs to stop what he’s doing and go after Ashida! “If she is strong, she will survive,” Archangel coldly states. Even while restrained, he continues butchering their enemies with his wings.

Surge begins to run. Elixir watches in horror as she goes; they will not catch up with her unless they hurry. He calls for Wolverine, who once again asks Warren to snap out of it. This time, though, he stabs him through the clavicle for emphasis. It has its intended effect; Warren regains control of himself and stares at the wound in his shoulder. Did Logan just stab him?! “Get the girl!!” Logan answers.

While tearing through the streets at a fantastic speed, Surge inadvertently shocks each civilian she passes. Tears stream down her face as she urges everyone to get away. Before long, however, Archangel swoops in behind her and picks her up off the ground. “Letmegoletmegoletmego! I have to get away!” Surge shouts at him. Archangel refuses. Through clenched teeth, he asks the girl not to make him kill her.

Wolverine watches as Archangel circles around in the air with the flaring Surge in his arms. “Are you ready for this, Foley?” he asks Josh. Although his body language says otherwise, Elixir says he thinks he’s ready. “You better be. ‘Cuz if she dies, we go up with her,” Wolverine says as the focused hub of electrical energy approaches.

Archangel hits the ground with Surge held safely in his arms. Nevertheless, she screams in pain as her powers flare out of control. “Sorrysosorrypleasegoddontletmedie,” she cries. Elixir presses forward into the locus of electricity and reaches for Nori. He tells her everything is going to be okay and reaches out to grab her gauntlet-encased hand.

2.6 miles north of the United Nations…

Domino wakes up from her stupor. “Uhhh… hate… time-travel,” she mutters. She looks around and realizes she is in the center of a street. Seeing no signs of Tabitha, she fears the worst. Domino calls Laura on her radio but gets no response. She gets no response from any of her teammates, for that matter. Finally, Warpath answers her call, and the relieved Domino asks where he is. Before she can give him her orders, however, something in the distance catches her attention. Her eyes widen and her jaw drops as an enormous electrical storm erupts over the skyline of New York City.

Characters Involved: 

Archangel, Domino, Elixir, Wolfsbane, Wolverine, X-23 (X-Force)

Boom-Boom, Hellion, Surge

Hrimhari (former Wolf Prince of Asgard)

Agent Morales (H.A.M.M.E.R.)

Agent Young (H.A.M.M.E.R.)

The Leper Queen (Sapien League, minion of Bastion)

Steven Lang, Bolivar Trask (minions of Bastion)


Frost Giants

Various members of the Sapien League

Story Notes: 

This story continues seconds after the events of X-FORCE (3rd series) #13. The events in the opening pages of this comic first occurred at the very end of that issue.

When Agent Morales last appeared, she worked for S.H.I.E.L.D. Following the Secret Invasion crossover, Norman Osborn was appointed head of S.H.I.E.L.D., which he immediately dismantled and re-launched as H.A.M.M.E.R. Therefore, ever since DARK AVENGERS #1, Alisandra Morales has been an agent of H.A.M.M.E.R.

The hospital massacre to which Steven Lang refers occurred in Cooperstown, Alaska right before the Messiah Complex crossover.

The Sapien League staged mutant terrorist attacks at anti-mutant rallies in Iowa and Wyoming in X-FORCE (3rd series) #12.

Gabrielle Haller—the former lover of Charles Xavier, the mother of the mutant Legion and a former Israeli Ambassador—has been a member of the United Nations since as far back as the Magneto War crossover.

Some of the signs the anti-mutant protestors bear say “X-Men? That’s sexist!” and “X-Out out the X-Men!”

This is the first comic book appearance of the Mutant Response Division (M.R.D.). However, because the M.R.D. first debuted in Episode One of the Wolverine and the X-Men cartoon series, it now stands alongside such Marvel Comics creations as Firestar and X-23 as a property whose first appearance in a comic book is preceded by an appearance in a TV show.

As Hrimhari first explained in X-FORCE (3rd series) #12, Frost Giants attacked him and his clan right after Asgard fell. Presumably they have been after him ever since. Like all residents of Asgard, Hrimhari died during the final Ragnarok that occurred in THOR (2nd series) #80-85, only to be reborn on Earth at the beginning of THOR (3rd series).

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