"Artifacts & Apocrypha"
Ok, first off in case you're wondering what apocrypha means, I looked it up for you. It's a word taken from medieval latin and has two meanings: writings or statements of dubious authenticity, and the books excluded from the Protestant new testament. And my mother didn't think that comics would improve my vocabulary. Our story starts out with out mutants having snuck into Hammer Bay on Genosha. It seems that their efforts to maintain a low profile are doomed though when they are about to be caught in a mutate clash with the magistrates. In order to avoid this they take out both sides of the conflict and at the end are joined by none other than Pete Wisdom. He's the one who sent the package to Sam that we saw Domino recieve in the last issue. Sam isn't too willing to trust him, but the team follows Wisdom into a curio shop where they can lay low for a bit as he explains things. Meltdown opens a carved box in the shop and lives a moment in someone else's memories. A mutant friend of Wisdom's apparently has the ability to psychically imprint memories into these boxes and the person who opens the box gets that memory. We now learn that what Wisdom mailed to Sam was one of these boxes where he sees himself through another person's eyes in a memory that doesn't quite mesh with his past memories but he has the feeling that it really happened. Wisdom sent him this as incentive for X-Force to help him. It seems that since leaving Excalibur Pete has been working with some of his old spy buddies to undue some of the damage they'd done while working for their governments. His current dilema is that he needs to recover a CPU from a downed satellite that crashed near Genosha and is now in the hands of Magneto before Magneto realized what he has.
Sam agrees to help him and is going to send Dani and James out for reconnaissance, when Delphi (the woman who makes memory boxes) tells him that that won't be necessary since she can give them the memories they need in exchange for some memories of their own. Dani gets the memories of a medicine woman during a time of great sickness so she will remember the need for a healer, James gets a native Genoshan mapmaker's intimate knowledge of the capital's streets and sewers, Tabitha gets the codes to the Genetics Research Complex, and she gives Jesse the memories of a martial art student's studies in a dojo. Domino refuses to give a memory so she recieves none, and Sam tells her all he wants is to know who the man who's memories he got in the box from Wisdom is. Wisdom tells him that when they finish he'll have his answers.
Scene shifts to the rulers of the Island country of Genosha. Quicksilver recieves a report from Jenny Ransome about X-Force's prescence on the island since his father is currently unavailable. He tells her to let him deal with them and rushes off. Meanwhile Sam outlines the plan for their breakin to the Genetic Research complex were the CPU is kept. Things go well at first, but Quicksilver shows up trying to warn them off because his father Magneto won't like to know of their being there. Knowing that they don't have time to explain, Cannonball does some quick thinking and tosses his memory box at Quicksilver telling him it will explain everything. During the split second where Quicksilver is caught in the memory Sam K.O.s him. They know that it won't take long for him to recover, so they quickly move on and Meltdown uses the codes she got from the memory to get them in the complex. It turns out that the CPU is a robotic brain from one of Wisdom's old buddies. It seems to have been damaged in the satellite crash and it activates all the robots in the room to attack X-Force. All hope off stealth is now lost, but Wisdom remains hopefull that all the have to do is fight their way out and leave, but Sam knows that things can always get worse.
We also get an update on Sunspot, who's living it up in Brazil, but apparently bored and wishing his lawyers would hurry and get him back into the States. After dumping some chick he picked up the night before he sees these two men forcing this woman to go into the elevator with them. He decides to interfere with their plans and they transform into monsters. Bobby assumes his Sunspot form and is about to fight with them when they suddenly turn into stone. The woman in the elevator is Selene. She tells Bobby that she was there looking for him and that she has an offer to make him.
A most interesting story. Characterization is great! We see Jesse unsure about the whole mess and being drug into a warzone, Tabitha was nicely done, and we see Sam acting like the military leader Cable trained him to be. Wisdom even comments on how he's really a military commander at heart. I like seeing Sam in charge, because (no offense to Dani fans) he has so much more experience than Danielle from his long tenure on X-Force where Cable trained him for that and where he assumed command everytime Cable disappeared (or "died"). She hasn't really been working on a team in a long time because her undercover in the MLF was a solo thing. She still has good leadership insticts, but I think Sam is better trained for this sort of thing. It'd be nice to see them deferring to each other in different circumstances though, for they have different areas of expertise. This story also leaves me curious about Sunspot. It's very well done. A fun read.