|Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #19|| || |
Issue Date: February 2012
Story Title: Live With This- Chapter One
Staff: Rick Remender (writer), Robbi Rodriguez (penciler, inker), Dean White with James Campbell (colors), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Jared K. Fletcher (design), Rafael Grampa (cover), Ron Garney with Chris Sotomayor (variant cover), Sebastian Girner (assistant editor), Jody Leheup with Nick Lowe (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
Aboard E.V.A., Fantomex prepares his “nephew” for his future at the Jean Grey Institute for Higher Learning. Meanwhile, Wolverine says goodbye to the Jean Grey from the AoA reality. She leaves alongside Sabretooth to return to their reality and help the human resistance. AoA Nightcrawler remains behind with X-Force so he can exact revenge on those enemies who’ve crossed over. This leaves the rest of the team to lick their wounds. Psylocke tries making a connection with Angel, but realizes it’s no use. Wolverine attempts to get drunk, but is interrupted by the arrival of Fantomex. The two talk about Evan and his role in the X-Men’s future. Soon enough, Kitty and Beast show up and learn all the sordid details of Wolverine’s version of X-Force. They agree to keep things peaceful and that Evan and Angel can go to the new school. That evening, Fantomex is visited by the Captain Britain Corps and taken prisoner to answer for his crimes.
Fantomex, Evan and Ultimaton are aboard E.V.A., racing through the Nebula. As Evan stares out the transparent hull, his hands resting on its surface, Fantomex begins teaching the young boy another life lesson. He tells them there are three types of people in existence, and explains the roles of the first two, the leaders and followers.
Moments pass, so Evan turns and asks his “uncle Cluster” about the third type of person he mentioned. Destroyers, Fantomex replies, and talks of their hatred and insecurity, which prevents them from inspiring or creating, leaving them to tear down all they come in contact with.
Looking up toward his uncle, Evan asks which type of person he is. Fantomex admits that’s a good question, but pokes Evan on the nose and asks, “Which one are you?”
“Uncle Cluster” reminds Evan about the things he’s helped him with over the years, his shape-shifting powers and dematerializing blasts, and then pulls the World out from his jacket. Focusing his gaze on its miniaturized surface, he tells Evan nothing’s more important than what his parents taught him, and warns him the fate of the world depends on him choosing to be a good man, a good leader.
Spying the object in his uncle’s hand, Evan asks what it is. Fantomex tells him it’s called the World, a factory of sorts, which was damaged during their previous adventure and needs to be stored away for safety.
Continuing to emphasize Evan’s future, Fantomex says if he became a destroyer he would erode all beauty and light. Evan assures him both he and his parents taught him better than that.
Ultimaton’s chest opens up while Fantomex worries aloud that Evan was forced to join them too early. He doesn’t want that to hinder his future. As Fantomex places the World inside Ultimaton he hears Evan say he wants to make the world a better place. Fantomex knows he does, but asks Evan to trust him.
World Secured, Ultimaton announces as Fantomex finally breaks the bad news he’s been setting up for. First, Evan is going to have to leave his care and attend a school designed for heroes. Confused, Evan wants to know why. Fantomex waves a finger in his face and says any more time spent with his uncle Cluster could be detrimental to his health.
As Ultimaton’s chest closes Evan asks about his parents. Fantomex says for his parents’ sake he can’t go home, and that they know what is happening. He tells Evan he must dedicate himself to the path of the leader. “Do you understand?” he asks forcefully, “You must never quit.”
Logan and the reality-displaced Jean share a drink while sitting on Logan’s bed. Sitting legs crossed, facing Jean, Logan states she saved his world. Not meeting his eyes, Jean says he would have done the same, even fought to his death for her, she saw it in his mind.
Then Jean’s eyes do meet Logan’s. She admits while she was in his mind she saw things that reminded her of why she loved her Logan, things he let die. Logan asks her to stay with him on this Earth, but Jean ignores him getting up from the bed and loosening her clothes. She asks if she can use his shower, but Logan tells her to stop avoiding the question, saying she’s got nothing back in her world.
Jean continues her walk toward the bathroom, but tells him their human resistance is working on a plan that could change everything. She wants to help them and has to stop her husband. She tells Logan she’s knows he understands.
Stopping at the door, Jean turns around and looks at Logan again. She tells him to stop asking her to stay and enjoy what little time they have left.
Elsewhere in the cavern, AoA Sabretooth is staring at the costumes of his recently deceased teammates Wild Child and Sunfire. The somber moment is interrupted by Deadpool who starts yammering on about bathroom habits and that he has a camera set up in the main toilet. He tells Sabes he watched him suffer through a bowel movement and was surprised to see him use the “layer, fold an’ hold” toilet paper method. He figured him for a “crumple an’ swipe” kinda guy.
Never taking his eyes off the uniforms Sabretooth reminds the annoying Wade he just buried two friends. Wade sidles up alongside him, comments on the large turds Sabretooth left in the toilet, and then gets serious for a moment and says they seemed like good guys. “Never had it easy, but never quit fightin’. Loyal to a fault,” Sabes grunts in reply.
This prompts Deadpool to question why he would keep a chained collar on Wild Child. He doesn’t wait for an answer, chalking it up to Sabretooth’s controlling classic “layer, fold an’ hold” personality. Before Sabretooth can reply to his idiocy Deadpool tells him they need to leave the cavern; it’s time for their journey back home.
The three surviving AoA X-Men along with the remainder of X-Force, sans Fantomex, are gathered outside near a seated Gateway. Jean and Logan share some last words as he softly caresses her cheek. He tells her if there’s anything she needs, to find him. Jean goes in for a kiss and telepathically tells him they’ll never see each other again.
Gateway stands and begins whipping his bolo in the air. However, there’s one last thing Logan wants to do. He calls Creed over and holds out his samurai sword. He tells Sabretooth it was given to him by a man named Ogun who made him take a vow that if he ever met someone with more honor or more guts than it was time to pass it on. Sabretooth takes the blade and Wolverine bows toward him.
Jean and Creed head toward the light, but Nightcrawler hangs back. Sabretooth asks what’s going on. Nightcrawler says he’s going to stay back and kill the bastards who ruined their lives.
An exasperated Jean tells ‘Crawler they need him, but he gives her a light peck on the cheek, telling her that Sugar Man, Drake, McCoy and the Blob think they’re safe from retribution, but will learn otherwise. Jean asks him to make them suffer, to which Kurt agrees. He’ll have help, Logan interjects, and Jean tells him to keep an eye on him, “or we might see each other again after all,” she finishes telepathically.
The portal is closed and Jean and Sabretooth are gone. Logan stalks off angrily. Most of the group follows, except Psylocke and Angel. She tells him to take her away. He wraps her up in his arms and flies off.
During their skyward journey a battle takes place in Psylocke’s mind. She feels like this man is the Warren she loved, but she knows it’s just a regenerated shell, leaving her to question who was really saved.
Psylocke tells him to stop at the top of a butte. They land and Betsy tells him how he brought her there last week as a surprise, that they made love, made plans for the future. A cold Warren says he doesn’t remember. Not looking at him, Psylocke says she knows he’s no longer the man she knew, but her heart won’t admit it.
Psylocke then turns toward him, a vulnerable look etched onto her face. She asks if he feels any love for her. “I do”, he replies, which catches her off guard. But then, Angel adds that he loves all things. He moves in close and says he can see her troubled soul and asks her to let him heal her. She stares at his hands in disgust and tells him she’s ready to go back.
The wallowing Wolverine is surrounded by several dozen crushed beer cans. He’s staring intently at the one in his hands when Fantomex and his entourage arrive. Wolverine says he’d ask where he’s been, but figures Fantomex would just lie to him anyway.
This causes Fantomex to remind Wolverine what their marriage therapist said about the “Rubber Band” Effect, and how he must leave him be so he can snap back into his arms. Logan takes a chug of his brew and tells “le Pew” that was cute, the kinda cute that’ll get him a poke in the nose. This prompts Fantomex to order Ultimaton to escort Evan to his room so he doesn’t hear another angry spat from his drunk “dad.”
Fantomex then takes a seat at the table and asks Wolverine what’s going on. Logan grimaces at him and asks why he did it. The ever-smarmy Fantomex feigns ignorance to what he’s referring to, but then sarcastically asks why he brought in the cavalry to save humanity, or why he acquired the life seed to save Warren. “Which terrific success of mine are you inquiring to specifically, you drunken little weasel?”
None of those scenarios was Wolverine referring to. He asks Fantomex why he cloned the kid he shot in the head, what he gets from it. Taking a beer himself and cracking it open, Fantomex says he had to prove that evil wasn’t cooked into the boy’s genes. As he dumps the beer onto Wolvie’s head Fantomex says he wanted to see if the boy could have been a good man.
Why, Logan asks. Flicking the empty can at Logan’s head Fantomex says he wanted to know if there was hope for him. This seems to stem some of Logan’s anger and he asks how much the boy knows about his past. Fantomex says he believes he was raised on a small farm in the fields of Kansas, his parents golden-hearted and hard-working. Around the age of 11 his uncle Cluster became aware of his powers and trained him in secret to become “super,” he finishes.
Logan tells Fantomex he’s lucky he started the school back up and his “little experiment” has a place to go. Fantomex sarcastically agrees it was unfortunate he had to release Evan early from his virtual reality to save the Earth from his renegade friend.
Getting up from the table Fantomex states that he believes Evan should be told the truth before heading to the school. Logan doesn’t agree and tells “uncle Cluster” it isn’t his choice anymore; telling him he’s a clone of the world’s greatest monster and his upbringing wasn’t real isn’t the right move. Logan says he’ll have to trust him and live with his decision. Won’t we all, Fantomex replies, as he leaves the room.
Enter Beast and Kitty Pryde, the latter wondering if they arrived at a bad time. Pipe down, Pryde, Wolverine snarls.
With most of the team assembled Wolverine fills Beast in on everything, and says that’s why he wants both of them at the school. Beast doesn’t like anything he’s heard. He pokes Logan in the chest and reminds him they’re both Avengers and having this “hit-squad” around and this kid Apocalypse and keeping them secret, there’s more to consider.
Logan gets face to face with Beast and asks him to act like an X-Man, that this is about family. Speaking of, in walks the rest of the crew, Ultimaton, Angel, Evan and Nightcrawler.
“Kurt…?” Kitty asks bewildered. She charges him and wraps her arms around his neck. Nobody told me, she exclaims. This Nightcrawler isn’t as kind as his 616 version. He pushes Kitty away and snarls at her, saying he doesn’t know her and is not her friend.
Angel interrupts and asks if he will be traveling with them. Evan then introduces himself to Beast, saying his codename will be Genesis. He holds out his hand, which Beast takes and shakes. He welcomes Evan to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.
Nearby, Kitty tries talking to Angel, but Betsy says he remembers nothing and no one. She apologizes to Psylocke, knowing what that would mean for her.
Saying goodbye, Evan gives his uncle a big hug. Fantomex jokingly tells him to never breathe a word of this to anyone or he’ll have to kill him. He then suggests Evan befriend some girls with loose morals.
Kitty then takes her newest pupil by the hand and guides him toward the X-Jet. As Evan leaves he turns back one last time and tells Fantomex to make sure his parents know he loves him. “Yes… of course,” Fantomex agrees a bit shamefully, waving goodbye to his “nephew.”
Back to Wolverine and Hank where Logan admits he knows Beast doesn’t like any of this, but he doesn’t want to have any secrets between them. Beast agrees he is furious, but relents saying this business better not affect the school. Wolverine says X-Force is going to make sure no bad guys show up on the school’s doorstep, referring to their crew as on-call campus police. “Campus illuminati assassin squad has a better ring,” Deadpool chimes in.
A huge portrait of the most recent iteration of X-Force is hung up alongside the original team long ago led by Cable. It’s Fantomex doing the hanging and as he stands there admiring the straightness of his work he comments on the new chapter of X-Force, sans Angel.
Suddenly, a bright flash of light enters the room. Fantomex shields his eyes in pain. A powerful fist comes flying through the bright light and connects with Fantomex’s jaw.
As the light settles a half dozen members of the Captain Britain Corps can be seen watching. In front is Captain Britain who delivered the punch. He has Fantomex by the front of his costume and tells him he must stand trial for his crimes. He then orders the rest of his Corpsmen to gather Elizabeth so she can be cleansed and returned to her proper station. “Otherworld needs her. And I will not allow her to further suffer this beast’s manipulation.”
Archangel, Deadpool, Fantomex, Psylocke, Wolverine (all Uncanny X-Force)
Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Sabretooth (AoA X-Men)
Beast, Kitty Pryde (staff of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning / X-Men)
Anglo-Simian, Brother Briton, Captain Albion, Captain Britain, three unnamed Corps members (Captain Britain Corps)
Cable, Cannonball, Domino, Feral, Shatterstar, Warpath (original X-Force)
Angel, Deadpool, Fantomex, Psylocke, Wolverine (just-dissolved roster of X-Force)
"Evan" is a clone of Apocalypse, created from blood samples from the previous child clone of En Sabah Nur who was killed in issue #4 by Fantomex. He was artificially aged to 14 years old inside the World. He emerged and his new identity revealed last issue.
Fantomex probably chose his name “uncle Cluster” based off his original designation when he was housed in the World, which was “Charlie Cluster 7.”
The World was the former headquarters of the Weapon Plus program, and houses loads of valuable technology including the ability to control time from within. Using stolen technology, Fantomex shrunk the World down to hand-held size. (Dark Reign: Wolverine)
Sunfire and Wild Child were killed during the previous story arc when X-Force traveled to the AoA timeline to recover a life seed to prevent Warren from transforming into Apocalypse.
AoA Logan, known as Weapon X, was imbued with Celestial energies, which fractured his mind. With his newfound powers he became just as horrible a figure as Apocalypse (Age of Apocalypse #1).
Ogun was Logan’s samurai mentor in the early 20th century before turning to life of crime and being a pain the proverbial side of Wolverine. The ceremonial sword exchange Wolverine referenced was never shown on panel.
Check out Wolverine and the X-Men to see if Wolverine’s campus police are actually able to protect the student body.
Angel and Evan become members of the “Wolverine & the X-Men” cast, starting with issue #4 which crosses over with this one.
Issue Summary written by: Milleniumcyke