|Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #27|| || |
Issue Date: September 2012
Story Title: Final Execution – chapter three: The World Won’t Stop Without You
Staff: Rick Remender (writer), Phil Noto (art), Dean White (color art), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Jerome Opena & Justin Ponsor (cover), Jared K. Fletcher (designer), Jordan D. White (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)
Fantomex fights Mystique on the rooftops of Paris. She reveals she had to get close to him to give him a poison that suppresses his misdirection power. She also reveals that his beloved Psylocke is being targeted as they speak. Fantomex leaves in EVA to find Psylocke in New York, where she is living through nightmares, thanks to the Shadow King. Unable to snap her out of it, Fantomex puts his psi-shielded mask over her head to restore her sanity and leads her out. However, he has now made himself vulnerable to the Shadow King .While he manages to push Psylocke towards EVA, he is held back and sadistically killed by his old enemy, the Skinless Man. In the meantime, the students of the Jean Grey School are on a field trip to Genosha, where Genesis is abducted by Sabretooth and the Age of Apocalypse Blob. Close to Cavern-X, EVA crashes after allowing Psylocke to jump to safety. EVA takes on a new more humanoid form. Psylocke, EVA and Gateway join the other X-Force members in Cavern-X to tell them the news. They are interrupted by a live message from Daken, who leads of new Brotherhood. They have manipulated Ultimaton to revert to his original programming. He kills Gateway and then detonates himself, intending to take all of X-Force with him.
On the roofs of Paris, Fantomex and Mystique fight. She makes love nothing like Betsy, he goads. Yet he continued, she points out. He didn’t say it was bad, Fantomex admits. Still, she could have killed him without the sex, he remarks as she swings and misses. One last fling for old time’s sakes? Should he be flattered? He kicks her.
He should be poisoned! she replies. She simply had to get the dose near him. If that feels like flattery, she kicks him, he’ll beam after this. The toxin shut down his mutant abilities. That’s why his misdirection isn’t working.
Hanging from the rooftop, he asks why does she endure such a defilement to poison rabble such as him. Their reasons are their own. He doesn’t miss the plural.
And better to die than see what they have in store for his dear Elizabeth Braddock! Mystique goads, ready to kick him off the roof. Instead, he grabs her foot to drag her with him, shouting, better yet, he’ll stop them!
She lands in the apartment of a hysterical couple and sees Fantomex leaving in EVA. Their mixed-up man- prize in en route, she tells her boss via commlink. Poisoned? He injures her, she tuts. God, yes, he’s poisoned to the gills!
The Jean Grey School students are on a field trip to Genosha. Quentin Quire addresses Evan Sabanuhr, remarking such a creepy place must be paradise to a sociopath like him. Is he thinking on how he’ll do this to the humans? Thinking how he’d deal with anyone who tried, is Evan’s reply. He knows how bad Evan wants to sell that line but he’s read all about Apocalypse, Quentin insists. All Evan is, is a bad day waiting for him in the future. He looks at him and sees a monster!
Such a subjective concept, comes from behind him as Sabretooth slams Quentin’s head to the ground, especially coming from him. He turns to Evan and suggests they get to know each other. Name’s Creed. Unless he runs, his name is about to be “cerebral hemorrhage,” announces Kid Gladiator. Mouthy runt, Creed remarks. Stupid hair.
The AoA Blob lands on the boy, remaking his hair ain’t that bad. Just needs a little fistula styling grease to give it a more relaxed look.
Evan has taken the opportunity to run, berating himself for being a coward. No, it’s smart, he decides, like uncle Cluster taught him. A smart man can tell a time to fight and a time to run. That’s a villain after him, a real one. After him because of what he is.
Sabretooth calls from the dark they’ve been lying to Evan. Lying is what Chuck Xavier’s clowns do. He’s got power. Power to change the world! Power to turn the tide and set things right for folk like them. He just needs better teachers, Sabretooth announces and tranquilizes him.
A little later, Beast and Kitty come running to find Evan gone. Why would they want Evan? Broo wonders. Same reasonthey don’t want him, Quentin retorts. He’s the damned Apocalypse!
En route to New York, EVA has found the place Betsy is staying. Fantomex fears she is already dead. No other reason Mystique would let it slip; she wants him to discover her body.
EVA warns Fantomex that the poison was designed specifically to dampen his power. He will not have his healing or misdirection. Fine, gives them a fighting chance, he decides as he jumps in through the window.
In the apartment, an amused Amahl Farouk is nursing a drink. Where is she? Fantomex demands. Farouk muses she’s been a disappointment, really. He wanted to defeat the warrior who caged him for so many years. Instead he found this fragile, broken girl… A mind so splintered, so molested, it must have been meticulously planned. Where? Fantomex demands, guns aimed at his head. The bathroom, comes the reply.
Fantomex rushes in to find Betsy sitting in the tub, crying that she killed them. He tries to calm her. When she recognizes him, she orders him away. Fantomex tries to explain.
The Skinless Man grins as he uses one of his tendrils to grab him by the throat. Look at her, terrified of him. As if that poor girl has seen the face of her true torturer. He slams Fantomex’s face against the mirror. Standing above him, with his knife drawn, he accuses Fantomex of cruelty. Misdirecting her feelings of love for him. Smart plot to control one of the world’s most powerful telepaths. To turn her against her own people. Sublime’s ultimate mutant killer. He wonders if Fantomex even knew he was doing it. Well, either way, she knows. And the pain that knowing causes her will be the last thing she ever experiences. Well, that and his blade…
Fantomex kicks him off and shoots at him, promising she will experience much more – revenge, for example! He orders Betsy to get up. She hallucinates, calling him Jamie, begging him to take her home. She needs to see Brian.
Fantomex realizes there are two options before him. One is very simple and leaves him whole. The other is difficult and will destroy him. He takes off his mask with its dampening plates which block telepaths and puts it over her head. With the Shadow King’s access blocked, she recognizes him.
He leads her out of the bathroom, aware that his mind is now open to the Shadow King. Fantomex switches control between brains as he fires at Farouk.
Three brains, Farouk muses, all after different things: this one is noble, the second one is quite the mischief maker, and the third brain, dear heavens, such a vile place!
Fantomex carries her of the window to EVA and pushes her inside with the order to get Betsy to safety, even as Skinlessman’s flesh tendrils draw Fantomex back inside the apartment. Now, he asks grinning, knife raised, where were they?
Fantomex tells himself he did the right thing. He saved her. Helpless as the Skinless Man pulls him up he tells himself to be there for this. Don’t die in a panic.
The Skinless Man informs him they have the boy Apocalypse. They are going to crack open his brain and use him for all manner of misbehavior.
Fear is only an idea, Fantomex tells himself. Ignore it!
Elizabeth will live to die at the boy’s hands, the Skinless Man gloats. Burning, she will know Fantomex set it all in motion. And the little boy, his experiment, will kill billions.
He cuts out his heart. Grinning, he shows it to Fantomex. Once you let go, it’s not so… Fantomex mutters and falls.
Go now, the Skinless Man tells him. Sleep! He did well. Father will be so proud.
EVA is about to reach Cavern-X, ignoring Psylocke’s pleas to go back. EVA informs her it would undo his sacrifice. So he is dead, Betsy states. Just now, EVA reveals, their connection severed. She has live. Enact their revenge. It’s how he’d want things. Find his killers. She will, Psylocke promises. EVA apologizes. She is dying as well. Betsy thanks her for her life. EVA tells her to jump before she crashes.
Betsy does so and realizes she can only think about revenge. There is no sadness. No sorrow. The Shadow King’s torture was sorrow he created but it felt so good to finally mourn. Now it is gone while her last words to Jean-Phillipe remain. “There is no ‘you’ to have feelings for.” But it was a lie. A lie she will never be able to confess to.
Gateway watches as EVA goes down. He helps Psylocke up. From the conflagration, a female figure rises, telling Betsy not to fall to despair. The second stage has just begun.
Wolverine gives orders to prep the medical lab, fearing they have been injured too. The three newcomers enter and Betsy falls into Logan’s arms. The strange female introduces herself as an evolved EVA.
Betsy stammers he is dead. Who? Logan asks. Fantomex, stupid! comes a voice from a telescreen. Daken grins triumphantly. “Hey, dad, sorry I killed your friend. Jeez, guess I’m gonna get grounded!” He’s gonna have to punish him but good, ‘cause this is just the tip of the iceberg.
That moment, Ultimaton appears, as Daken expected. What is the meaning of life? he asks. Why must he kill all mutants? He snaps Gateways’ neck. Why create Evan? Ultimaton continues. Why have him raise the boy?
Funny thing about super-Sentinels like Ultimaton, Daken continues. Once free of Fantomex’s control, he goes right back to his primary function, killing mutants.
And Ultimaton blows up, taking all of Cavern-X with him.
Triumphantly, the Brotherhood watches and Daken tells Evan that no matter what his old man and his geek friends were trying to sell Evan… he’s got the straight dope. Learned the hard way. Bad guys use a better part of the coin to land on.
Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler, Deadpool, Fantomex, Psylocke, Wolverine (all X-Force)
Beast, Kitty Pryde (X-Men / staff at the Jean Grey School)
Broo, Genesis II, Kid Gladiator, Kid Omega (students at the Jean Grey school)
Daken , Mystique, Omega Black, Omega Red II, Omega White, Sabretooth, Shadow King, Skinless Man (all Brotherhood of Evil Mutants)
Quentin’s behavior towards Evan differs a bit from their relationship in “Wolverine and the X-Men,” where Quentin also teases Evan, but generally doesn’t display that level of hostility towards him (no more than to anybody else, at least).
Psylocke caged the Shadow King during the PSI-war way back in X-Men (2nd series) #78.
Psylocke insulted Fantomex in issue #25.
John Sublime headed the Weapon Plus project and is thus responsible for Fantomex’s creation.
Ultimaton aka Weapon XV was originally programmed to hunt mutants. Here he reverts to his original programming, thanks to Daken.
Daken actually died in Daken: Dark Wolverine #21. It is unclear how he survived or was resurrected.
Issue Summary written by: Ruth