|Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #28|| || |
Issue Date: September 2012
Story Title: Final Execution – chapter four: Days of Preemptive Future
Staff: Rick Remender (writer), Julian Todino Tedesco (art), Justin Ponsor (color art), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Jerome Opena and Rachelle Rosenberg (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)
As Ultimaton is about to detonate, Psylocke uses her telepathy to keep the dying Gateway conscious long enough to teleport X-Force away. They end up 30 years in the future where Deathlok already expects them. He leads them away, warning them of a threat he refuses to define, promising them he will show them later. Deathlok needs to show them something before he sends them back. What he does show them is that in this future, after Evan became Apocalypse and slaughtered millions, X-Force rose to power, with their methodology. After they had killed all existing criminals, they now prevent crimes before they can happen, by killing the people who will commit them in the future. He needed them to see that so they can change this future. He reveals that the Magistrate of this society is Elizabeth Braddock. When Wolverine refuses to see what is wrong with that, Deathlok decides to go against his own ethics and kill them. However, they are saved by the future X-Force members, who find them. Soon, they realize they are shy one member, though. Psylocke has fled, disgusted at her role in this future. She decides not to allow this and impales herself on her katana.
30 seconds ago:
Psylocke realizes Fantomex is dead, Daken’s cackling and a loud buzz muffles the sound of Gateway’s spine snapping. The buzzing is Ultimaton, seconds away from detonation. Gateway, their only way out, lies broken and dying at his feet. Betsy trespasses his dying mind, finds some remaining trace of him, holds him, prolonging his agony. She begs Gateway to forgive her and send them a way. Which he does.
30 years later:
X-Force emerges, only to be expected by their sometime ally Deathlok, who welcomes them to the future. He’ll explain on the way. Wolverine telepathically asks Betsy what she did. She explains and adds she couldn’t verify a location or a time period.
Deadpool asks aloud if they are doing the telepathic talking thing, so Deathlok can’t hear them. Belatedly, he asks if he thought that or said that.
Deathlok explains they are in Los Angeles 30 years in their future. No need for secrecy, he isn’t here to hurt them. There are others who are. They anticipate their arrival. Psylocke cannot ascertain the truth from his mind. They do not want to be here when they arrive, Deathlok warns. Deadpool remarks that he bets Deathlok was dying to say “Come with me if you want to live!” right then. And who are they? No one they want to meet, the cyborg promises.
“They” turn out to be Cable, Hope and older Deadpool, who arrive a little later. Cable gives orders not to harm the travellers. Deadpool remarks the last part cannot be stressed enough. Frank Castle, he is looking in his direction. Is he picking that up?
They land to find X-Force are gone. Hope finds traces of blood and oil and figures America’s most-wanted cyborg got them first. They inform headquarters that Deathlok has taken the time travellers.
Future Wolverine shouts at them to go and get them. Frank Castle points out that he is unnerved. Wolverine explains this isn’t how he remembers things going! Because it isn’t how things went, the magistrate, sitting at the desk, remarks calmly. Deathlok’s tachyon transmitter, always whispering back and forth between his past and future selves… he is trouble.
Maybe he is after something else, Logan suggests. Killing does go against his AI’s love theory. He asks Castle if Deathlok would break his own protocol and kill the travelers to get to them. Castle believes that, if he was looking to off them, he’d have done it. But if push came to shove, Logan stresses. The Magistrate interrupts that the push will not be allowed to come to shove. She orders Commander Castle to join General Summers and gather the travelers. And, Magistrate Elizabeth Braddock stresses, deliver them unharmed.
Elsewhere, Deathlok hands out small devices to X-Force to keep them guarded from the Magistrate’s thought crime surveillance. Betsy refuses as she can guard her own mind. While Deadpool wants to know if they are Bluetooth compatible.
Why does the government care about them? Nightcrawler asks. Deathlok leads them to his underground hideout and tells them they will leave in five minutes.
While EVA tries to bandage Psylocke’s injuries Wolverine tells Deathlok that they just lost two of their own. Killed by his son, who’s trying to twist a young Apocalypse into serving the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, unless they stop him. He’s on a short fuse, so no more orders! Has he got plans to get them back home because lots of folks are in need of killing!
Murder is the wrong solution, comes Deathlok’s reply. Fine, lesson learned, Wolverine answers. What the hell is the plan? He’ll see, once he shows them around. Wolverine shouts that he isn’t interested in the grand tour. Deathlok promises he has access to one of Kang’s time machines. He’ll send them back once they see.
EVA pities Betsy for what she experienced at Farouk’s hands, then tells her she mustn’t feel responsible. Fantomex came to her aid of his own volition. He valued her as much as he could anyone. He knew she was destined to make the world a better place. To succumb to sorrow now would undo his sacrifice. Lucky for her, sorrow isn’t an option, Betsy replies as she gets up.
Nightcrawler and Deadpool banter for a bit before Kurt refers to Wade’s lack of a healing factor: his wounds are deep. If Wade knew he’d lost his abilities, why accept the dangerous White Sky mission? Deadpool replies he’s a crazy person. He makes imprudent choices. No, wait! That was a great setup – let’s do it again! He didn’t want to let anyone down because this is the closest thing to a family he ever had!
A little later, hiding in the shadows, they watch Castle patrolling. Why is the Punisher hunting them? Wolverine demands. They want to send X-Force back before they see, Deathlok replies. Looking at the modern city, Logan remarks it doesn’t seem half bad.
Totalitarian fascism, preemptive assassination, peace brought through fear,… it is hell! Deathlok sternly replies. He fights for true liberty. He fights for love and forgiveness… He should fight that hippie fungus growing around his hairy sack, Deadpool suggests.
Quiet! Deathlok orders. They are here. They observe how Warpath violently drags a man out of an apartment. His wife protests that her husband didn’t do anything. Not yet, he replies. He won’t! she begs him. She’ll stop him. They have children! He knows, Warpath replies. X-Force just saved their lives. He packs the man into the glider and they leave.
Where are they taking him? Psylocke asks Deathlok. “Preventive termination,” is his reply. X-Force’s methodology taken to the exponential conclusion.
Who is in charge of this? Wolverine demands. Deathlok points to a giant image of Magistrate Elizabeth Braddock. Deathlok explains the boy they all saved, Evan, ascends as Apocalypse. He became the worst threat their world had ever known. Logan gathered an army of X-Force. An army dedicated to murdering their opposition. Apocalypse was killed. A terrified world was liberated and they became celebrated as heroes. They were elected to ensure such monsters never again rise to threaten humanity. A few years later, they’d killed every known criminal. When there were no more criminals, they began to kill preemptively. As soon as somebody makes up their mind to kill, X-Force eliminates them. This is their bright utopia, built on death and blood.
Stopping killers before they kill? What’s so bad? Logan demands. Pushing him against a wall, Deathlok shouts that murder for any reason is still murder! Sometimes murder is the price they pay to protect innocents! Logan retorts. Sometimes murder is a necessary sacrifice.
Deathlok points out the doubt in his voice. When Logan denies this, Deathlok announces he defers to the savage logic of his human host… an’ he’s gonna save the world from them the only way they understand! He switches personality mid-sentence. He points his gun at Logan’s head and fires.
Nightcrawler teleports Logan away, while Deadpool protests that Deathlock’s gonna kill them to stop them from creating a future where they kill people to stop them from—
Logan reappears above Deathlok. Funny kind of love he worships, he mocks and lashes out at him. Turns out they go to the same church. Let’s pray together! Deathlok suggests, as he impales him. Deadpool wants to point out more hypocrisy but gets a fist in the face. Taking a Kree Nebula staff, Deathlok intends to evaporate X-Force. He will prevent this world! he shouts.
That moment, he is shot by several arriving sky cycles. Deathlok mumbles he failed, failed himself by turning killer. He deserves to die knowing this world goes on. He throws himself off the roof of the skyscraper.
The newcomers are Cable, Hope and an older Deadpool. Wolverine asks Cable if they are here to help. Not here to hurt them, no matter what lies that freak told them.
Deadpool asks “Oldpool” how the sag factor is. Older Deadpool orders him to shut up. Where the hello did Braddock go?
Betsy is fleeing, seeing the choice. Kill her older self and put an end to this or let them send X-Force home and the future is still up to them. She decides that isn’t true. Free will is an illusion! They can’t stop this from happening because they won’t stop killing!
She ends up under a statue of her older self. She spread this filth across the entire world. Further proof it’s ingrained too deeply in her heart to change. Jean-Philllipe died for her so she could live, to do this. She decides this will not be the legacy of his sacrifice. She takes out her katana and impales herself. She falls in a pool of her own amassing blood…
Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler, Deadpool, Fantomex, Psylocke, Wolverine (all X-Force)
30 years in the future:
Cable, Deadpool, Hope, Punisher, Psylocke, Warpath, Wolverine (all X-Force)
“Come with me, if you want to live” is a famous quote from the first Terminator movie.
Issue Summary written by: Ruth