WARPATH: Page 4 of 9

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11th September 2014
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Around this time, Jimmy had his first encounter with a mysterious woman known as Risque. Receiving an anonymous message to rendezvous through the National Council of Indian Affairs, Warpath was casually assaulted by the beautiful young woman before she snuck a kiss and vanished back into the night. When he was injured a few days later battling the immortal Selene, Risque came to his rescue and whisked him away to recuperate at her home

in South Beach, Florida. For some weeks, James reveled in a life of no responsibilities, growing closer to Risque while truly relaxing for probably the first time since his brother died. He even got a large tattoo of the Thunderbird symbol etched onto his back. To James, it seemed like Risque was the opposite of Siryn in every way. [X-Force (1st series) #51, 53, 55-56]

Returning to the mansion after receiving word on the Onslaught crisis in New York, Warpath and Risque got involved in a conflict with Sinister and later Onslaught himself, alongside the rest of X-Force. Risque disappeared during these events, leaving Jimmy truly upset and at a loss trying to find her. Ironically, it was only after she began feeling jealous of Jimmy's connection with Risque that Siryn finally began to develop romantic feelings of her own for James. [X-Force (1st series) #57-59]

While on a mission in Latveria, a gypsy prescient fainted after touching Warpath, predicting a dark turmoil in his future. At the time, James was unsure what to make of her vision, but his life would indeed turn upside before long. [X-Force (1st series) #63]

Days later, Risque returned to his life and revealed her true purpose -- acquiring Proudstar in order to repay a debt to the man known as Sledge. She had developed true feelings for Jimmy in their time together, though, forcing Sledge to send his agents, Mimic and Blob, after the pair. After a brief conflict, Warpath and Risque subdued their attackers, however she then reluctantly drugged James and brought him to Detroit to complete her assignment. [X-Force (1st series) #65]

When he awoke, Sledge offered Proudstar a deal—in exchange for a favor, Sledge would give Jimmy the whereabouts of Michael Whitecloud, a member of Warpath's tribe who apparently survived the Camp Verde massacre and had information about the true attackers. By the time X-Force had tracked Risque down and pressed James‘ whereabouts from her, James had already agreed to the deal, and the "favor" required him to traverse an inter-dimensional void in order to recover the Vanisher, an associate of Sledge's who was lost some time ago. [X-Force (1st series) #66, 68]

While X-Force returned home, Warpath was given a special suit that would allow him to navigate through the void, his heightened senses being needed to deal with the sensory input. After a brief encounter with homicidal extra-dimensional prairie dogs, Warpath succeeded in bringing back Vanisher and getting the information from Sledge. [X-Force (1st series) #69-71]

In his absence, though, X-Force had broken ties with Cable and the X-Men. After picking him up in Detroit, Warpath and the remaining members of the team began a road-trip to Nebraska, where Sledge's information said he would find Whitecloud. When their car broke down and they ran out of money, Warpath and Siryn separated from the others, continuing on to meet Michael. In Nebraska, they found the Apache perpetually drunk and living in a tenement building. Michael Whitecloud explained to Jimmy how one of his sources had information on illegal genetic experimentation under the name Project: Stepladder. Michael's investigations got too close to the truth, and an extermination team wiped out Camp Verde in order to kill him and his source, and destroy any evidence of Stepladder's misdoings. Only by a stroke of luck, Whitecloud escaped the massacre and had been on the run for the last few years. However, he had apparently not been completely successful in evading capture. After telling James where to find another set of his notes he had hidden, Whitecloud attempted to name the monster behind Stepladder, only to have his head explode from the effort. Stepladder had apparently implanted a failsafe in Michael's brain at some point to prevent him from revealing too much. [X-Force (1st series) #72]

Tracking down the notes, Warpath and Siryn were assaulted by Edwin Martynec, the psychotic doctor who years ago was poisoning Jimmy's mother as part of his own experiments. Capturing the mutants, Martynec explained how Cable's arch-nemesis, Stryfe, was actually behind Project: Stepladder, and by extension the massacre at Camp Verde. Michael Whitecloud had been tagged and released in the event that he had hidden more evidence and eventually tried to lead others to it. Eventually, the two mutants broke free and managed to defeat Martynec, though not after he injected Warpath an amphetamine compound that sent him into cardiac arrest.
Even in the afterlife, James was disturbed. His spirit was snatched away by Stryfe to some netherrealm ruled by Blackheart. Stryfe wanted to trade in Warpath’s soul in exchange for his own freedom but, before the deal was made, the rest of X-Force arrived, Moonstar’s status as a Valkyrie having given her the means to follow James. However, though not even they could defeat Stryfe, seeing his friends in peril, Warpath gathered all of his strength and anger and managed to overcome the villain. As Siryn had applied CPR to James‘ body for the entire time that the battle lasted, there were no after-effects to his “death“ when his spirit reunited with his physical self. Afterwards, Warpath called up Emma Frost and had her arrange for Whitecloud's notes to get to the proper authorities, and ensure that Project: Stepladder was dismantled and the people involved brought to justice. [X-Force (1st series) #73-74] This adventure seemed to clear the air between James and Theresa, as from then on they both seemed comfortable with each other as best friends, without any unresolved romantic tension.

The mystery regarding the Camp Verde massacre finally solved, James was ready to move on, though he confided in Moonstar that he was a little bit afraid of forgetting his friends and family. Every day his memories of them seemed to fade a bit more. Dani helped him by using her mental powers to reach out into James‘ head and recreate an illusionary scenario of his family for him. Interacting with his late brother and mother, James realized that all the time he had been obsessed by the way they died, when actually the way they lived was much more important. [X-Force (1st series) #75]