X-Force (3rd series) #24

Issue Date: 
April 2010
Story Title: 
Necrosha: Chapter Five

Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost (writers), Clayton Crain (art, cover art and variant cover art), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Jody LeHeup (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Axel Alonso (executive editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Selene executes Eli Bard after he returns the spirit blade to her. Senyaka, Wither, Blink and Mortis prepare the ascension ritual with the help of Thunderbird, who, despite being under Selene’s control, manages to impart to the captive Warpath her weaknesses. X-Force arrives on Necrosha via the Vanisher and trudges through the armies of the undead guarding Selene’s citadel. The Vanisher abandons the team after learning Elixir already healed his inoperable brain tumor. However, he has a crisis of conscious and teleports into the Selene’s citadel, where he rescues Warpath at the expense of great personal injury right as Selene begins devouring every soul on the island. The Vanisher retrieves X-Force and gets them to safety just in time, where they learn from Warpath how to kill Selene, who has now ascended to godhood.

Full Summary: 


On the reconstructed ruins of Genosha, Selene sits in her palace, awaiting the return of her deadly Inner Circle. After she asks the precognitive Ellie Phimister for their current location, Ellie reports they just killed two people—like she said they would. One of them was just a kid. A third victim of their attack will die in a few days. However, they did get Selene’s knife and they’re coming back right—

BLINK! “…now,” Ellie finishes saying as the five members of the Inner Circle appear before them in a flash of pink light. They have amongst them a sixth figure bound in Senyaka’s whips: the X-Man Warpath.

With the spirit blade in his hands, Eli Bard kneels before Selene and presents his offering, along with the X-Man scum who stole it from her. Wither, annoyed with the way Bard presented the situation, tells him to shut up and slaps the knife out of his hand. He’s the one who lost it and ran, Wither shouts! Does he think Selene is stupid? Does he think she doesn’t realize what he is?

Enraged, Bard leaps at Wither, his face transforming into that of an ancient, decrepit monster. “I have had enough of you, boy,” Bard says as he pins Wither against the wall. “You have no idea what I am! You have no idea what Selene means to me!” Wither asks if that is what he really thinks. As his face shifts into that of a decaying vampire similar to Bard’s, he asks him to think again.

“Stop. Enough. Wither,” Selene says, “…heel.” She descends from her dais and approaches the two quarreling men. Wither begs her to see it his way, but Bard approaches her first with the sacred blade in his hands. Everything he has done for over two thousand years, he has done for her. He asks Wither what he thinks he could have done that compared? Kneeling once more, Bard presents the blade to Selene and begs her forgiveness.

Selene commands him to stand. He does. He admits he was weak, and that he failed her. He knows this; it is his shame. It has burned within him for centuries—but his love for Selene burns even greater. She granted him eternal life, but cursed him to live it without her. However, he knew he could give her what she needed—the souls she needed—so that she would see him as she once did.

Behind them, Senyaka tightens the bindings around Warpath’s neck.

Continuing, Eliphas claims to know the part of Selene that loves him must still love him. It’s the part that allowed him to live: the part of her that let him back in her life. All he ever wanted was to be with her and help her become the goddess he knows her to be. He did this all for her, he says.

Selene ushers him forward. Standing face to face, she tells him he will always forever be her one true love—and her greatest disappointment. She slams the spirit blade into his chest. Eli’s eyes go wide, his jaw slackens and he lets out of gasp of pain. As the magic of the blade works its way through his ancient body, Eliphas begins to decay. He is able to utter Selene’s name one final time before he crumbles to ash. His arm, riddled with a lattice of Techno-Organic circuits, hits the ground with a THUD.

Nearby, a smirking Wither rolls his eyes. He calls out to Selene after Bard’s demise, but she silences him and calls instead for her Apache servant. Warpath, meanwhile, is incensed to see his brother John back from the dead. He calls to him, but Thunderbird appears not to listen. He instead heeds Selene’s order to put his brother in the dungeon with Destiny, as she still has use for him.

With the spirit blade in his hand, the putrid-looking Thunderbird approaches his captive younger brother. Warpath begs him to listen; he has to fight her! Can’t he hear him? He knows he’s in there somewhere! He has to fight it! Thunderbird stops and stares at his brother blankly. “I can’t,” he says. He slaps Warpath across the face, grabs him by the hair and drags him to the dungeon.

As they leave, Mortis reminds her teammates the X-Men will be coming for Warpath. They must prepare for their arrival.

Four miles outside of Black Rome, formerly known as Hammer Bay...

On a rocky outcrop overlooking the dark valley, X-Force appears out of thin air, courtesy of the Vanisher's teleportation. Logan sniffs the air and winces; he forgot how bad this place smelled. Wolfsbane, on the other hand, immediately begins to scream. She can't be here! She can't do this—not now! Shrugging, Vanisher reminds her that Cyclops ordered him to take X-Force to Genosha. Rahne is wearing black, so she went. Enraged, she grabs him by the collar, effortlessly hoists him off the ground and demands he take her back.

This sudden display of strength surprises both Telford and Rahne. Perplexed that she could lift him so easily, she looks off into space and asks how she just did that. "It, uh, that might be my fault," Elixir says. "When I matched your DNA to the baby's..." He trails off. "I think your baby is going to be really strong." He adds that Rahne's muscle density is also different, and that he doubts even a bullet could break her skin.

Wolverine calls them to attention. They've got a situation, he says. He directs their attention over the cliff and into the valley. X-23 agrees it looks bad. Domino just shrugs. She wasn't worried before, she says.

In the four-mile span of the valley between X-Force and Selene's citadel, a vast army of dirty, undead mutants and humans ambles aimlessly.

Meanwhile, inside the citadel, Selene holds the spirit blade crucial to her ascension. Carved from the bones of her mother, the blade was infused with the magic of her ancestors. To function, it requires blood, either offered from the devoted or torn from the defiant; both hold power. She instructs her Coven to use the blade to perform the ceremony. They have the sigils, they have the runes and now they have the blade. The time has come, Selene says; she can feel it. She orders her servants not to fail.

From behind, Caliban calls out to her. Selene asks if the souls are ready for reaping. They are, Caliban says—but there's something else. After Selene grants him permission to speak, he reports the presence of X-Men on Necrosha, south of Selene's throne, just outside the bay. Additionally, Negasonic Teenage Warhead adds that Destiny also escaped. According to Ellie, though, it was for the best; there was a monster inside of her. Selene, seeming to ignore Ellie's comment, focuses on the impending threat of the X-Men. She refuses to be denied her ascension again—ever again.

In the valley, the legions of T/O Virus-infected mutants receive their instructions from Selene. Craning their necks toward X-Force in unison, they begin to march. "Oh, heavenly father," Wolfsbane prays. The Vanisher, on the other hand, begins to whine. They made a deal, he says! If they want to stay here and die, fine, but he doesn't! He insists they remove the tumor from his brain. X-23, focusing on the matter at hand, states that X-Force is too far away from the citadel. There are too many enemies in the way. "They stink of death," she adds. "I cannot smell Warpath."

Wolfsbane can. She can smell everything. She detects his presence in the city—beneath it, actually, and surrounded by stone. This fact catches Vanisher's attention, who had no idea James was there too. Wolverine, moving on, tells X-Force it's time to do their job. They fight their way to Selene, and kill her. If anyone wants out, he adds, the van is about to leave.

"Your plans suck, Logan," Domino says as she readies her assault rifle. "We're going to die in about five minutes. No way in hell we're getting to Selene, much less James." To make matters worse, she notices the opponents even have units in the air. X-23 observes their approach and readies her claws.

The Vanisher, meanwhile, continues to beg Elixir to heal him. Elixir, his skin black, turns to Telford and speaks frankly. "I already took it out, Porter. When we were in the future. I never wanted to do that to you in the first place. You're not dying," Elixir says. Telford doesn't believe him, citing his illness in Portugal as evidence. "Probably because you have Stage Four Syphilis, you dirty @#$%," Josh states. "Now get out of here! Go!!"

Meanwhile, Archangel surveys the enemy and calls dibs on the pink girl.

Behind him, Josh urges Telford to leave while he still has the chance. Telford begs Josh to come with him; he's going to die if he stays. Josh asks why he even care. He got what he wanted; he's free to leave. That's what he's good at, isn't it?

While X-Force dives headfirst into a battle against a million opponents, the Vanisher hangs back. After a few moments of indecision, he makes up his mind and disappears. "To hell with you people," he says as he vanishes.

Meanwhile, on a rocky outcrop near Selene's palace, Wither slices the palm of his right hand with the spirit blade. He winces as the blood pours from his hand and splatters on the wet rock. Blink watches him patiently.

Do you know who Selene is, James? Thunderbird asks his brother. Do you know what she is? She is the darkness that was tricked away by the coyote when the world was young.

In the battlefield, Wolverine screams as he rips through the bloody hordes of Techno-Organic zombies. Meanwhile on the other side of the citadel, Mortis grunts as she moves her bloodied hand along the lines of a dark sigil. Blink waits for her to finish. Back in the battlefield, Wolfsbane screams as the undead overwhelm Elixir.

Thunderbird continues. He explains that Selene existed before mankind, when the spirit realm was all. The X-Men may call her a mutant, but in truth, Selene is more. She is more than evolution, more than power and strength.

Blink watches as Senyaka draws the spirit blade across his chest, carving the pattern of another eldritch sigil into his bare chest. He vows to kill for Selene.

In the field, Archangel slices his way through some of the aerial undead, hoping to make his way to the temple.

She is hunger, Thunderbird says of Selene. She hungers for everything. And she won't stop.

While Blink prepares the fourth of the sigils with blood from her own hand, X-Force continues its futile crusade through Selene's undead army. At that same moment, Selene ascends a spiral staircase at the top of her palace that seemingly needs to nowhere. When she reaches the stop, she lifts her head and looks into the distance. "Finally," she says.

Inside her citadel, Thunderbird, having finished warning Warpath about Selene, jams the spirit blade through his brother's hand. It pins him to the wall; James screams. Behind him, Blink watches. Warpath, a crumpled heap on the ground, begs his brother to fight it. He has to fight it. James reminds his brother of how he taught him to never give up. Doing the best he can, Thunderbird lifts his younger brother up by the hair and whispers in his ear. This is what will happen, he says, explaining that once the sigils are in place, the spell will begin. Selene will feed on the souls of Genosha and ascend, becoming the dark goddess. Warpath grunts, but Thunderbird begs him to listen. Once Selene begins to feed, her power will grow, consuming every soul on the island. However, she will not stop here. Her hunger will continue to grow. She will consume the world, leaving only ash in her wake, before feeding on the spirit realms itself. "She is the darkness, James," Thunderbird says as he paints the final sigil in blood. "And you must stop her."

Suddenly, Blink catches on to what Thunderbird is saying. She asks him angrily what is happening. Ignoring her, Thunderbird advises his little brother to stop him before he kills him. Although James claims he can't, Thunderbird orders him to find a way.

A fourth party enters the chamber unexpectedly. "Jimmy!" the Vanisher cries as he materializes on the steps below Blink, Thunderbird and Warpath. Blink, her face mangled with anger, tries to kill Telford before he can intervene. She hurls a handful of teleportation spikes his way. Although Telford blocks them with his arm, they take his arm with them when they disappear. Understandably, it causes him much pain; he emits an anguished scream. Nevertheless, he makes his way over to James and grabs him by the arm. James has the chance to warn him of the other approaching attacker. Once more, Telford screams—this time as the undead Thunderbird swings at him with his hunting knife. Telford begins to vanish with Jimmy. However, Thunderbird's blade grazes his flesh before he can fully disappear.

Enraged, Blink screams as both her prisoner and his rescuer escape. Nevertheless, with the sigils complete, Selene's sacrificial spell begins to activate. The sigils painted around Selene's citadel in a pentagonal formation begin emanating a pure, white glow. Wither has to shield his eyes from the light, while Senyaka screams as the glowing energy bursts forth from his chest. Off in the distance, the members of X-Force watch as the five points of light surrounding the palace fire into the sky, while at the center, the brightest beam of all—that produced by Selene—surges upward like lightning.

A pulse of light and energy spreads outward from the center of the pentagon at an inescapable speed. It disintegrates both Caliban and Negasonic Teenage Warhead as it passes over them. The same effect is felt by the millions of undead mutants and humans now populating Necrosha; their bodies crumble to ash as the light overtakes them.

With only moments to live, the members of X-Force watch the approaching energy wave in horror. They have only a short amount of time to comprehend the catastrophe resulting from the failure of their mission. Before they are killed, however, they each disappear in a flash of light, followed shortly thereafter by the VT! sound produced by their teammate Vanisher's energy signature. Immediately after they depart, the light overtakes the rest of the island, turning everything into ash.

VT! X-Force rematerializes in a dark, underground cavern, where they each plummet a few feet to the rocky ground. Elixir wastes no time in crawling to Telford's side, who, among other things, now lacks a left arm. "James... he was, *koff*... was always nice... to me," the Vanisher manages to say. "You better %$@^&#* save me."

Nearby, Domino asks Logan what the hell just happened. To the best of his knowledge, Selene just consumed a bunch of souls and became a goddess, much like Jimmy and Bard said she would.

"You're right," a voice says from the shadows. Domino is surprised to see James emerge from around the corner. His eyes appear heavy, as if relaying some heavy burden. "Selene is a god now,” Warpath says. “But I'm going to show you how to kill her."

Characters Involved: 

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


Eli Bard, Blink, Mortis, Senyaka, Wither (Selene’s Inner Circle)

Caliban, Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Thunderbird (Selene’s resurrected mutants)

Various undead minions of Selene

Story Notes: 

The fate of the third victim of the Inner Circle’s attack on Utopia is revealed in X-MEN: SECOND COMING #1.

Destiny escaped from Necrosha in X-MEN: LEGACY #231. The monster inside of her that Negasonic Teenage Warhead mentions is Proteus, who has a connection to Destiny because they both died on Muir Island. For that story, see X-MEN: LEGACY #231-233.

Vanisher’s sense of obligation to Warpath possibly stems from the time Warpath was hired to rescue him from another dimension, as told in X-FORCE (1st series) #69-71.

Thunderbird’s reference to “the darkness that was tricked away by the coyote” refers to the White Mountain Apache legend commonly referred to as “Badger Carries Darkness”. In this folklore legend, put in print by Grenville Goodwin in his 1934 anthology Myths and Tales of the White Mountain Apache, a coyote tricks the badger who carries darkness in a bundle on his back into letting him carry it for a while. Once he gets out of sight of the badger, however, the coyote opens the package and unleashes the darkness, which the badger then rushes to contain.

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