|Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #18|| || |
Issue Date: February 2012
Story Title: Red Sky Blue
Staff: Rick Remender (writer), Jerome Opena (artist), Dean White (colors), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Sebastian Girner (assistant editor), Jody Leheup (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)
The Age of Apocalypse Sunfire takes out Iceman and holds back the deadly energies of the fountain but dies in the process. As Fantomex and Psylocke cannot hold back Archangel, Fantomex calls Ultimaton to speed up the project. Ultimaton releases a teenage Apocalypse clone named Genesis, who spent his virtual life in a wholesome Kansas family to be raised a hero. Genesis manages to slow Archangel long enough for Psylocke to hurt him critically with the Life Seed. The Warren Worthington personality returns and, as he dies, Psylocke gives him the illusion of a long happy life they spent together. Before the fountain explodes, Fantomex takes her away. Deathlok, in the meantime, has broken away from War’s spell and has gathered the pieces of Deadpool. McCoy and the Final Horsemen, among them a pregnant Pestilence, have fled. X-Force and the other heroes regroup to find an Angel, healed by the Lifeseed, but completely amnesiac.
The AoA Iceman is looking for his reality’s version of Sunfire, though he isn’t looking forward to killing him. But Shiro doesn’t have anything back home. Iceman tells himself that killing him is a favor. Sunfire spies him, flies at him and touches him, melting him into pieces.
Surrounded by the Horsemen stands Deathlok, put in a trance by War. McCoy orders War to fix that. While Archangel plants the seed, Pestilence adds. Not the only seed he’s planted today, McCoy adds cryptically.
Within Deathlok, his two natures – the psychopath human and the loving AI – do battle. The AI wins. Love is true evolution, he decides. But love will not sway them. For life to flourish, they must die! Deathlok announces and has managed to reason his way out of War’s spell.
McCoy flies up, expressing his disappointment at War. He figures he was selected during one of Apocalypse’s many opium binges. Binges of which he is beginning to see the necessity of.
Further up, Fantomex and Psylocke are facing Archangel, who expresses his disappointment in Betsy. Careful, Fantomex mocks, he is beginning to hear some emotions. Oh, he knows! Archangel’s angry that she chose Fantomex! he mocks.
Hitting Fantomex, in the stomach, Archangel pronounces he is beyond jealously. He kicks Psylocke, telling her she should not have shed her gifts. She is tainted to him now.
He doesn’t even know half of it, Fantomex leers as he fights back. You can tell the ones who really like you by the way they kiss. And the way Betsy kissed him, he’d say she’s a woman who hasn’t known warmth in a very long time. He draws his knife and stabs Archangel.
Archangel glides up and simply pulls the knife out of his chest. Does he believe this knife will impede him? That his words will unnerve him? He sends a barrage of his flechettes at them. He wants him angry? he asks the fallen Fantomex. He’ll act angry. He stabs Fantomex in the skull.
At Akkaba metropolis, McCoy orders Ship to power up. They are jumping to Neptune Station. He informs the Horsemen and their allies that, once Archangel plants the Life Seed in the fountain, they’ll want to be far away. One of them protests about abandoning Archangel. He is the chosen one, and McCoy is-- In charge now, the Dark Beast snarls. They are not abandoning him. These are his instructions! He hugs Pestilence, who smiles smugly as he informs the others that what she carries is very precious to Archangel. His heir must be protected.
The injured Fantomex uses his commlink to call Ultimaton and tells him to play the message and let him out. Ultimaton protests that the subject’s virtual life has yet to complete. Do it anyway! Fantomex orders.
Psylocke curses Archangel for taking Warren away from her. He never felt anything for her, Archangel taunts her. He thought she was a muddle, a distraction. He agrees. She is a weak, confused woman with no true identity. She is more than he could ever know! she replies and attacks telepathically. He falls.
Exhausted, Betsy picks up the Life Seed and rags herself over to him to kill him. He admits she has grown. Not enough, he decides as he kicks her off the plateau.
A farm in what seems to be Kansas. A figure looking like Fantomex but wearing a coverall over his costume enters a farmhouse where father, mother and a teenage boy, looking a lot like Apocalypse, sit at the table. The boy happily calls Fantomex “Uncle Cluster.” He didn’t see him at the game today.
Calling the boy “Evan,” Fantomex explains they don’t have much time. Ignoring the parents, he tells the boy his entire world is about to disappear. He knew this would happen. It’s what he’s been preparing him for.
The boy is fearful as his parents and the house fade away and Fantomex tells him it is time to be the hero they raised him to be.
The boy awakes in the World where Ultimaton helps him up. He tells him he is friend and asks him to save them all.
Elsewhere, Archangel wonders why the fountain hasn’t scorched the Earth by now, then looks up to find Sunfire is doing his best to keep it under control. The next moment, Evan aka Genesis slams into Archangel, slamming him inside. You? Archangel mutters, recognizing the look. Archangel hits him, shouting he is no Apocalypse. He is Genesis! Evan replies and uses his eyebeams to slam him away.
Ultimaton removes the blade from Fantomex’s head and informs him his second brain is functional. He can move. They have to help Sunfire, Fantomex mutters, or they are all dead.
Sunfire finds it takes too much energy for him but he refuses help.
Slamming into Genesis, Archangel snarls that he has no claim to his throne. No authority against him. Evan doesn’t know what he is talking about but it sounds evil, and he’s a hero and will stop him!
Such exuberance! Archangel mocks and attacks him with his flechettes. He has no idea what’s going on, does he? He holds the bleeding boy up. It’s not his fault. Poor child, he is capable of such manipulation, he thought the boy’s very existence could be his undoing. He’s sorry he must continue to suffer at his cruel hand. He sends an energy shock through Genesis.
The next moment, Psylocke stabs Archangel with the Life Seed. He sinks to his knees; Warren’s personality weakly asks where they are before he falls, light emitting from him.
Ultimaton warns Fantomex that Sunfire cannot contain Genocide’s flames. The Doom Fountain has amplified them. Fantomex orders him to shut up. They can’t let him die for a world that’s not even his! But Sunfire holds on, unwilling to let another world be destroyed. He tries his best and is torn apart in the process as everything explodes.
Down below. Warren groans it hurts. He’s dying. Betsy tells him it’s fine. He’s going to be okay. Just listen to her voice. Close his eyes and when he wakes up…
The astral plane:
… they’ll be home. About time she showed up, Angel tells her. He was wondering when she’d show up. Betsy apologizes. She was caught up in nonsense. He admits he fell asleep and had the strangest dream. They were living in a bleak and failed world. Xavier’s dream was all but forgotten. The two of them were… assassins. They killed a child. It cost them everything they were.
It was just a nightmare, Betsy stresses. It left him hollow, he replies. Where are they anyway? He can’t remember. Colorado, his cabin, she replies. They moved here after she got pregnant. Like they always talked about. Their two young daughters, one of whom is called Jean, wait for them and ask him to play with them.
Time passes and Warren stresses about being forty and old. She tells him where he sees wrinkles she sees wisdom. She always knew one thing in her heart. He makes a terrific father.
And so they happily grow older, watching their girls grow up, growing old alongside each other. On his deathbed, Warren tells Elizabeth again that he loves her. He wonders how he got so lucky to end up with her, to have such a perfect life.
He deserves all the happiness in the world, she tells him. It is easy to love such a beautiful person. She reminds him he sacrificed everything for the ones he loves, all while worrying he didn’t do enough. She tells him he did enough. He led a full and significant life. “My hero.” She kisses him on the forehead as he peacefully dies.
Fantomex shouts at Psylocke to wake up. The complex is coming down. They have to go! Crying, she refuses, demanding to be left with Warren. Fantomex drags her up and carries her to EVA. He asks Ultimaton if the kid is secure. When told yes, he gives order to get them the hell out of here.
They land further down to find Deathlok waiting. He explains that he collected all parts of Wade. He loves him. And all of them. He had to learn love to defeat War. Now it is all he can feel. Well, good, Fantomex sighs. He supposes he loves him as well.
The weakened Jean tells Betsy that she knew she could do it. And she knows how much it hurt. Betsy thanks her, then her voice trails off as she sees a winged figure stumbling towards them through the snow… Warren Worthington (though with metal wings). Excited, she runs towards him and kisses him. He holds her at distance and asks “Who are you?”
Fantomex, Psylocke, Wolverine (all X-Force)
Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Sabretooth, Sunfire (Age of Apocalypse X-Men)
Pestilence VI, War VI (Final Horsemen)
Blob, Iceman (Age of Apocalypse villains)
in Psylocke’s illusion;
in artificial life:
The plot with Pestilence’s child will presumably be continued in Uncanny Avengers.
Issue Summary written by: Ruth