X-FORCE I: Page 5 of 5

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7th September 2012

X-Force Hero Team Entry – Part IV
“Counter-Wisdom Agency”

Team Appearances: X-Force (1st series) #102-113, Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #388, X-Force (1st series) #114-115, X-Force (1st series) #117, X-Force (2nd series) #1-6, Cable & Deadpool #15-18, Civil War: X-Men #1-4



Before

  • Alistaire Stuart was a founding member of Britain’s Weird Happenings Organization (W.H.O.), an agency investigating paranormal activity. In this capacity, he was an ally of Excalibur and was generally kept abreast of strange things occurring in his homeland. [Excalibur (1st series)]
  • As the new leader of X-Force, Pete Wisdom trained the members of the team to further expand their abilities, helping Meltdown, Proudstar and Jesse Aaronson all find new applications of their already impressive powers. [X-Force (1st series) #107]
  • An alien lifeform crashed into Earth hundreds of millions of years ago, before life developed on the planet. It lay dormant until life appeared, at which point it started proliferating into its new host species. Traces of this creature made its way into the fossil record. A century ago, the organism began manifesting itself even more aggressively, indicating a new phase of its development: incorporating all life on Earth into itself to use as components in a giant planetary spaceship. [X-Force (1st series) #113]
  • During the Cold War between the U.S.S.R. and the United States, at least two enigmatic intelligence organizations became interested in this alien lifeform and began developing ways to hasten its takeover of life on Earth, mostly through the mass augmentation of human beings. Both organizations believed things would be better for all humans if they could peacefully merge with the alien entity and become one large collective entity. One of these agencies was based in the United States and was called Cuckoo. The other organization was so mysterious it had no name; incidentally, it employed Romany Wisdom, Pete Wisdom’s sister.
  • While working for Cuckoo, Dr. Niles Roman also learned of the alien spore that threatened to envelope the Earth and started working to prevent it from coming to pass. He believed the key to fighting it lay in creating superhumans who could combat the lifeform. This fueled his interest in mutating baseline humans and latent mutants into full-fledged mutants. [X-Force (1st series) #102-105, 110-113)]
  • With Dr. Roman’s help, Cuckoo developed a bio-reactor that produced an electrical signal catalyzing the transformation of latent mutants into full-blown human-hating mutant savages. After Cuckoo was denied permission to test this device on civilians, they ordered Dr. Roman to destroy it. Not willing to let the experiment go, Dr. Roman deceived his superiors, placed the device on standby, equipped it with a slowly deteriorating lock and buried it beneath the surface of San Francisco. [X-Force (1st series) #104]
  • Due to the radical experiments he was performing, the Russians attempted to assassinate Dr. Roman – twice. Both times, they failed, although not without leaving permanent damage. He had to steal mutative technology from Cuckoo to heal himself. After these assassination attempts, Dr. Roman managed to convince the Russians of his true aims and they agreed to work together to stop the alien uprising. [X-Force (1st series) #103, 113]
  • At some point during the Cold War, the Russian government developed an advanced sleeper-agent process that gave their soldiers superhuman, if grotesque, abilities. They augmented their soldiers, rewired their personalities, then sent them deep undercover in the United States to lie in wait. These soldiers lived out normal lives, believing they were typical Americans. A verbal code was to awaken them when the time came, at which point they would carry out their suicide attacks on designated strategic sites. When the Cold War ended, however, the program was forgotten and the soldiers remained undercover, with many of them siring children who would one day develop superhuman abilities of their own. Constantin Racal, a scientist behind the original experiments, feared these soldiers might one day inadvertently activate and execute their far more lethal secondary programming. However, it was the discovery that the Russian government intended to “reacquire” their innocent children that compelled him to rush to the U.S. to retrieve as many of the kids as possible before Russian assassins killed them. [X-Force (1st series) #110-112]

Chronology
 

After taking control of X-Force, Pete Wisdom fashioned Warpath, Meltdown, Cannonball and Bedlam into a covert strike force that took down secret targets. In one of his official lessons for X-Force, Pete Wisdom warned the team that, in order to succeed in the shady world of black-ops, they would need to deal with some untrustworthy parties, many of which would inevitably try to use or betray them. He advised them when dealing with such parties to get in, get what they needed and get out before they were played. Often times this would mean tricking other parties into giving them what they needed. Although X-Force heeded his advice, they failed to grasp exactly how far-reaching and comprehensive his words were. [X-Force (1st series) #108]

On one mission, X-Force responded to an S.O.S. cry from Major Valentina Rychenko, an old associate of Pete Wisdom’s. The team arrived at the source of the signal – a forgotten Russian City known only as Science City 53. The city was under attack by a proliferating horde of meatspore stormtroopers. After neutralizing the horde, Major Rychenko explained the meatspore stormtroopers were the result of unstable bio-technology she and her associates had stolen 50 years earlier from the American intelligence firm Cuckoo. She claimed to have no idea why the stormtroopers suddenly activated and went rogue.

After this mission, the team moved back to San Francisco, incidentally arriving shortly after Dr. Niles Roman’s bio-reactor activated and started transforming the people of San Francisco into barbaric mutants. X-Force engaged the antagonists in battle while Pete Wisdom observed them from an abandoned S.H.I.E.L.D. station. Thanks in part to the skills of Bedlam and Cannonball, the team succeeded in reversing the mutation process in several civilians and destroying the bio-reactor, the source of the outbreak. The mission was a success overall – except for the fact that, while X-Force was in the field, Dr. Roman confronted Pete Wisdom and murdered him for interfering with his long-awaited experiment. X-Force returned from the field to find their leader dead. [X-Force (1st series) #102-105]

In the days that followed, the team attended a funeral service for Pete Wisdom. Although Wisdom’s former allies from Excalibur failed to attend to the sparsely populated service, Wisdom’s elusive sister Romany, herself a high-ranking British intelligence agent, made an appearance. Surprisingly, Domino showed up as well, but only to ask X-Force for help. She explained that a mutant assassin named Marcus Tsung, who had the ability to murder with a thought, was out to kill her – and had already succeeded once. Miraculously, she was resurrected after being assassinated, with the caveat that a strange alien organism was now growing out of her back. She didn’t know why Marcus wanted her dead, just that he was after her and was killing everyone in his path. X-Force agreed to protect their old friend. They enlisted the help of another black-ops team for help investigating Domino’s mysterious resurrection, but Marcus found and ambushed them, blowing up their transportation vehicle. X-Force survived the attack and confronted Tsung. Although Cannonball, Proudstar and Bedlam were defeated, Meltdown managed to sneak up behind Marcus and sear the flesh on his head. At that point, Romany Wisdom arrived – with extensive back-up – and had Marcus executed via a barrage sniper fire. With Marcus dead, Romany revealed that the object growing on Domino’s back was an ancient life-form with the potential to destroy all life on Earth. Domino began acting defiant, as if under control of the organism, so Romany subdued her, took her into custody and had the organism removed. [X-Force (1st series) #106-109]

Before X-Force could decide on what mission to undertake next, they received an EMP-based Morse code message from Major Valentina Rychenko, asking for immediate assistance. X-Force tracked the signal and saved her life from two Warborgs, grotesque soldiers resembling the meatspore soldiers they had encountered earlier. In the process of saving Rychenko, however, the Warborgs infected Warpath with a neurotoxin that threatened to kill him. To save him, Valentina suggested they contact the only living person with the necessary knowledge: Constantin Racal, her father. While X-Force tracked him down, Valentina explained to them that they were dealing with the Cold War fallout from the long-standing biological warfare between Russia and the United States. Shortly after Constantin healed Proudstar, Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. arrived and recruited X-Force to assassinate a major player in the ongoing bio-weapons war: Dr. Niles Roman, the man who murdered Pete Wisdom. X-Force readily accepted the task of destroying both Dr. Roman and his superhuman-breeding laboratory.

They raided his facility and, after eliminating his Warborg guards, began fighting his super-mutant army. Dr. Roman interrupted the fighting, however, and demanded everyone stop. He revealed to X-Force that they had been played for fools, and that all life on Earth was in danger of being assimilated by the alien organism that had crash-landed on the planet millions of years earlier. This organism was now beginning to spread; the entity formerly occupying Domino’s back was evidence. Dr. Roman explained that all of his actions, no matter how evil they appeared to be – including activating the bio-engine in San Francisco – were performed to prevent this from occurring. There was another party, however, who was working tirelessly to bring this assimilation to fruition: the top-secret intelligence agency that employed Romany Wisdom. Dr. Roman made progress convincing X-Force of his side of the story but, before he could finish, Romany Wisdom remotely activated latent programming within Valentina Rychenko, who then revealed herself to be a Life Model Decoy. At Romany’s command, the Rychenko-LMD detonated the vibranium bomb housed within her. [X-Force (1st series) #110-114]

Thanks to Jesse Aaronson’s energy field, X-Force survived the blast. Dr. Niles Roman was not so lucky, however. With the world believing them dead, X-Force went underground. Over the course of the next six months, the team retaliated against corporations who abused mutantkind. One such company was Gentechnic, an organization that intentionally induced mutant births in Colombia so it could harvest the genetic material for medicinal research. After X-Force detonated a bomb at the Gentechnic shareholders meeting in Buenos Aires, they bought airline tickets to Australia. Domino had a bad feeling about their flight, though, so they didn’t board. Her instinct saved their lives: during takeoff, a super-powered agent named Corben destroyed the plane, killing everyone onboard. X-Force took her down and tortured her for answers. She led them to Alistare Stuart, who in turn led them back to Romany Wisdom. X-Force tracked Romany to her base in Oxfordshire, which they attacked. Surprisingly, Romany invited them inside the facility and she explained everything: in order to usher in a Utopian world free of suffering, they were hastening the alien life form’s assimilation of Earth by transforming all of humanity into a species more compatible with the symbiote. X-Force rejected Romany’s vision and her offer to join her cause, however, so she unleashed her soldiers on them. The team was instantly overwhelmed. Thankfully, Jesse Aaronson managed to unleash an electromagnetic blast that detonated the entire facility. The explosion hurled Domino free, but the rest of the team was not so lucky. They were lost in the explosion.

Nevertheless, Domino remained convinced they survived. She admitted as much during her subsequent interrogation. After she left the interrogation, Pete Wisdom emerged – alive and well – and revealed to Alistaire Stuart that he had played a part in orchestrating some of the events Domino mentioned in order to save the world. Wisdom also assured Stuart that X-Force was not dead and would emerge when the world least expected it. [X-Force (1st series) #114-115]

While they were in hiding, a new, media-hungry X-Force team emerged and hijacked the X-Force name, which, in fairness, had not been trademarked. This new team was more focused on generating good publicity for itself than it was defending the rights of mutants. Cannonball, Domino, Meltdown and Warpath assaulted this new X-Force at a press conference and demanded they quit using the name. The fight got ugly and ended without resolution, at which point the old X-Force retreated back into obscurity, leaving their team name with their press-seeking successors. [X-Force (1st series) #117]

Afterwards

  • Shatterstar acquired a rare, powerful weapon called the Five Fingers of Annihilation that possessed the unique ability to slay the world-devouring beast, Skornn. [X-Force: Shatterstar #1-4] Cable soon learned that a cult known as Helix intended to summon Skornn to destroy all life on Earth. After the cult succeeded in stealing the Five Fingers of Annihilation from Shatterstar, Cable rallied the old troops – Shatterstar, Domino, Meltdown, Sunspot, Warpath, Caliban and Cannonball – to stop the ancient creature. Deadpool, Wolverine, the Fantastic Four and a version of the Mutant Liberation Front from the future arrived to help as well. Ultimately, X-Force defeated Skornn, but the victory came at the cost of Cable sacrificing his life and dispersing his own essence across the Multiverse. [X-Force (2nd series) #1-6]
  • Using a device that Forge made, Siryn Cannonball and Deadpool retrieved Cable’s dispersed essence from various realities in the Multiverse, and restored him to his adult body with the help of an alternate reality’s benevolent Mr. Sinister. [Cable & Deadpool #15-18]
  • To combat the nefarious Weapon X program, Cable recruited Domino and Meltdown, along with Maverick II and Blaquesmith, into his subversive black-ops organization known only as the Underground. They succeeded in deposing the Weapon X’s leader, Malcolm Concord, although they failed to stop the program from continuing in his absence. [Weapon X (2nd series) #7-13]
  • After M-Day depowered most of the world’s mutants, those that remained were interred on the grounds of the Xavier Institute by the Office of National Emergency (O*N*E). This group of mutants, among them Caliban, took to calling themselves the 198. Domino and Shatterstar, acting on behalf of X-Force, orchestrated a breakout of these captive mutants. Together, they fled and took shelter in an abandoned weapons bunker in the Nevada desert, where they laid in waiting until their rights were restored. Domino and Shatterstar teamed up with the X-Men to repel the O*N*E and bring about an amenable resolution to the conflict. [Civil War: X-Men #1-4]

Where are they now?

  • Jesse Aaronson was crucified on the lawn of the Xavier Institute by the Church of Humanity, alongside fellow mutants Skin, Jubilee and Magma. Although some of his peers survived the crucifixion, Jesse did not. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #423]
  • Pete Wisdom joined a new Excalibur team before returning to the MI-13. [New Excalibur, Captain Britain and the MI-13]
  • When the future of mutants was in jeopardy after M-Day, Cyclops started a black-ops team of mutant assassins he dubbed X-Force. Led by Wolverine, this team’s line-up initially included both Caliban and Warpath. Caliban died on the team’s first mission. [Messiah Complex crossover] This new X-Force team continued its mission and eventually came to include Domino as a member. [X-Force (3rd series)] After X-Force disbanded, Warpath and Domino remained with the X-Men, where they currently serve.
  • After her stint in NextWave, Meltdown was kidnapped by the Leper Queen and almost turned into a human bomb. Wolverine’s X-Force managed to save her in time and return her to the X-Men, where she currently serves as a member. [NextWave #1-12, X-Force (3rd series) #12-13 and 17-20, Uncanny X-Men (2nd series)]
  • Sunspot, Cannonball and Moonstar eventually reunited with the rest of the New Mutants to form an X-Men field team. [New Mutants (3rd series)] Cannonball eventually left this team and worked at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning in Westchester, New York. [X-Men Legacy #260, Wolverine and the X-Men]
  • Rictor, Siryn and Shatterstar all joined Jamie Madrox’s X-Factor Investigations. [X-Factor (3rd series), X-Factor (1st series) #200]
  • Cable once again sacrificed his life to save the X-Men and his adopted daughter, Hope. [Second Coming crossover] However, he was resurrected in order to ensure Hope’s survival and currently serves with the X-Men. [Avengers: X-Sanction #1-4, Avengers vs. X-Men]

X-Force’s Legacy

  • A new black-ops team has donned the mantle of X-Force, although neither its roster nor its mission is related to Cable’s original X-Force. Its founding roster included Wolverine, Psylocke, Archangel, Deadpool and Fantomex, and has since expanded to include Deathlok and the Age of Apocalypse’s Nightcrawler. [Uncanny X-Force]