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Runaways



X-Force (1st series) #119

Issue Date: October 2001

Story Title: What's One Life ?

Staff: Peter Milligan (writer), Mike Allred (artist), Laura Allred (colorist), Mike Allred & Blambot (letters), John Miesegaes (assistant editor), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Queseda (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description:
While X-Force battles the army of Bastrona, the Orphan tries to rescue little Paco from the machines in the lab. To increase his sensory imput, he takes off his costume, and depite the pain it puts him in, he can now sense the tubes inside Paco‘s body and remove them in the right order. Saint Anna is shot, and dies in the Orphan’s arms. As she turns to dust which he inhales, he promises to find her father. Edie teleports the team home, but she is tired and takes them to her family’s home. When seeing her mother, grandmother and la girl named Katie, that looks a lot like Edie, she panics and takes the team back to their base. Later she is sent to a clinic to deal with an addictive problem (her ampules have some unwanted side-effects). The Orphan refuses to hand over little Paco to the Coach after learning that he wants to exploit him the same way like the Bastronians did – in fact Paco’s body contains various cures for humanity’s deadliest diseases. The Coach even has the Orphan attacked by two mutants Smoke and Succubus.The rest of X-Force backs up Guy and they form a truce with the Coach. The Orphan finds Anna’s father in Argentina and the dust rains down on him making her father experience Anna‘s life. Guy leaves littlke Paco in his care and returns to America. The Coach visits Edie in the clinic and offers her to become leader if she kills the Orphan.

Full Synopsis:
While his team is fighting the army of Bastrona, Orphan has to free little Paco Perez from a machine. The problem is that he has to remove the tubes in a specific order or else the boy dies. The Anarchist pushes Orphan to make a decision, while Edie is about to fall asleep. The Orphan reminds her to use her ampules that keep her awake, but U-Go Girl tells him that he should worry about saint Asnna, who just got shot multiple times in the back. Phat forms a giant cussion of his hand for his fallen teammate, who is still breathing. He also observes as Vivisector slips into some savage state , recklessly killing various soldiers. Edie bickers some more, before she finally passes out and Orphan is talking with Diego Ardilles, who is eager to abandon the kid and leave. Before Orphan can learn the reason, Diego is shot. Anarchist comments that they now no longer will have to decide wether to make him pay for having caused Bloke#s death or not.

Guy knows that there is only one way to save little Paco, he needs to broaden his sensory input and therefore takes off his costume that limits his power to a tolerable amount. He can’t allow himself being filmed naked, so he throws his costume over Doop’s camera. Although his hyperkeen senses put the Orphan in constant pain, he can now sense where the tubes connect inside of Paco’s body. He understands their purpose and is now able to deduce the right order in which they need to get removed. With the boy save, The Anarchist wakes up Edie and tells her to take them home.

X-Force arrive with little Pace in front of a dirty small house in very bad shape. Vivisector asks Phat to keep quiet about his outrage, but he laughs at him, wanting to use that info in his next interview with larry King. The Anarchist tells them both to stop, since they have a dying teammate in their midst. Anna asks the Orpghan to bring her mother’s ring to her father. He hesitates and she gets quite angry, cursing and threatening to haunt him forever if he does not fulfill her wish. He gives in and promises to search her father in Argentina, and Anna peacefully dies. She turns to dust, that the Orphan accidentally inhales – feeling her inside him. Two women step out of the house, they recognize the sleeping U-Go Girl as their Edie, and the team understands that she was very tired, and by accident she teleported them to her former home and not X-Force’s base. A little red haired girl steps out of the house, asking who Edie is, and one of the women tells her that she is her big sister. Orphan realizes how much Edie and Katie are alike, as Edie wakes up and freaks out, when seeing her family. She quivkly teleports the group away.

This time she makes it close to X-Fforce’s complex. Frightened Paco tries to run away, but the Orphan goes after him and convinces the boy that he is in good hands. He tells the others to go ahead, as he and Paco have to make a little detour.

Somewhat later, Orphan is in the Coach‘s office. They watch the TV news; they report that U-Go Girl has checked into the Pat Downey clinic to deal with some addiction to alcohol and pain killers. Guy wonders why they lied, but the Cioach states that he could not have told the truth, namely that her ampules are affecting her ability to accurately pinpoint her teleport, as it would give X-Force’s enemies an advantage. The Orphan wonders what enemies the Coach is talking about, but the team mentor in turn wants to know where he put the rescued boy. Guy asks what makes the boy so special, granted he can blow out craters from a distance, but does this ability justify the loss of two X-Force members ? The Coach opens up, actually Paco is a lot more than he seeems. His entire body, his DNA, his blood, his spit, everything of him holds the key for a new geenration of medicine and antibiotics that could cure the world’s deadliest diseases. Guy realizes that the team oinly rescued little Paco, so that the US government can place him into another lab with similar machines. He is not willing to allow this, but the Coach expected this reaction, therefore he has hired two mutants, Smoke and Succubus, who now attack the Orphan. Yet the Anarchist, Vivisector and Phat arrive and they side with the Orphan. They start a fight with Smoke and Succubus, but Orphan asks all of them to stop, saying that killing eacjh other won’t save the problem. The Coach agrees, stating that the Orphan is samrt, that is why he was chosen as leader and that will also be the reason why he will understand that Paco needs to be sacrificed to save the lives of millions.

Sometime later, Guy has tracked down Anna’s father in Buenos Aires. He is no longer a priest, but runs a shelter for poor kids. Orphan apologizes that there is not mnuch he can tell about Anna as he only knew her a short time, but suddenly he sneezes. Anna‘s ashes rain down on her father, and after five minutes of experiencing her memories and her personality he smiles and thanks Guy. The Orphan asks a favour in return, he wants to leave little Paco in the shelter, so that the Coach or any other force won’t find him.

In the clinic, Edie dreams about the late Zeitgeist standing at her bed. She wonders why he is alive and he tells her that he has been burning to see hera again, right before using his acid vomit on Edie. She wakes up, only to really find a person standing at her bedside. Edie believes that it’s still a dream about Axel, and tells him to go away, in fact they only had sex once, so she doesn’t need to feel guilty about his death. The figure steps out of the shadows – it’s the Coach, who isn’t happy to learn that two X-Forcers had an unauthorized affair. Yet he is here to make an offer. At first he shows Edie a tape of the Orphan‘s parents. They are not dead, but spent the last seven years in prison for having tried to kill their mutant child. The Coach goes on, that they would be willing to testify, that it was the other way around, that the Orphan attempted to kill them. Coach no longer wants the Orphan to be part of X-Force, and therefore offers Edie the leader posistion, that is if she gets rid of him. Edie is not quite sure what the Coach implies, but he makes himself very clear : she has to kill the Orphan.

Characters:
Anarchist, Coach, Doop, Orphan, Phat, Saint Anna, U-Go Girl, Vivisector (all X-Force)
Paco Perez, a kid from Bastrona
Diego Ardilles, contact person in Bastrona
Smoke, Succubus (loyal to the Coach)

Edie’s mother
Edie’s grandmother
Katie Sawyer
Saint Anna’s father

On TV :
Greg and Mrs Smith, Orphan’s parents

Notes:
Little Katie seems to be Edie’s daughter. Orphan noting the resemblance, Mrs. Sawyer (That’s .... yer big sister) and Edie saying that she left so much behind point to that assumption.

This Issue has been reprinted in:
X-Force: Famous, Mutant & Mortal (HC) (Trade Paperback)
X-Force Vol. 1: New Beginnings (Trade Paperback)
X-Statix Omnibus (Trade Paperback)

Issue Summary written by: Peter Luzifer


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