X-Force #90
"Rude Awakening"

The art in this issue is good. The team has been forced to labor for these new Hellions and look gritty and dirty throughout the issue because of that. It's a nice detail. The facial expressions were also done very well. Our story opens with Jesse buying gas at a gas station were they are rocked by and earthquake and Jesse tells the attendant that they are closer to the epicenter than he knows. The Armageddon Man is awakening. Jesse's brother, King Bedlam, is pleased with the beginings of destruction unleashed by Armageddon Man's awakening. He plans to allow him to destroy as much of the West Coast he can until Washington responds to the demands he had Senator Danville relay for him. It would appear that Bedlam has a psionic amplifier developed by Black Air that will allow him to control Armageddon Man. He wants Danville to call President and arrange the transfer of funds, mentioning how his demands pale in the face of the country given to Magneto.

X-Force is observing the situation and Siryn tells the team they have to make Bedlam their first target. Cannonball says they'll have to move fast or he'll turn his powers on them and that they'll need a distraction. He tells Terry to take out Bedlam and without waiting rockets off to take on Armageddon Man. Siryn is upset because she didn't give the order, and Tabitha comments on how even the nicest ones get macho and stupid now and then, which I thought was a nice touch. Switch tells Bedlam they have to stop Cannonball, but Bedlam justs laughs and true enough, Sam doesn't even do any damage to Armageddon Man, feeling the pain himself instead and regretting his impetuous move. Feral is laughing about "Mr. Holier than thou" (Sam) getting knocked off his high horse, taunting Meltdown who asks what's happened to her. Feral tells her that since she found out about her having the Legacy Virus she wants to make a lot of people feel her pain before she goes, a nice pickup on that old plot thread I thought. While Bedlam gloats, Siryn silently signals for the team to get ready, and then to strike. She moves to take out Bedlam and stops him from using his mind powers with her mind numbing shriek but Feral leaps up and slashes her claws across Siryn's throat, effectively shutting her up. Proudstar lashes out in anger at Feral for injuring his best-friend and his blow flings her across the room. Another nice touch is Sunspot's exclamation of "God in Heaven!" in Portuguese as Siryn is bleeding badly. Moonstar orders him to fly her to the hospital right away and she takes charge of the situation ordering Domino to take out Switch and Meltdown to handle Feral. Proudstar says he wants Feral, but Moonstar tells him he has to take on Tarot and Bedlam while she goes for Magma.

Meltdown uses her time bombs to chase Feral around, taunting her as she goes. Dom quickly handles Switch before he can use his powers to take another body. Magma brings Domino and Moonstar to a standstill with a gout of molten lava, but suddenly Sam is there and her grabs his former teammate saying he ans she are going off for a little chat. She's mad saying that Xavier's dream is as much of a fantasy as Amara Aquilla and her former life (which we learned quite some time ago was made up by Selene) and how she sees nothing wrong with using her powers to get what she wants.

Meanwhile, James is asking Tarot why she's protecting Bedlam and realizes that her powers have changed since her "rebirth" and she can now assume the form of her Tarot cards. Weilding a scythe as Death, she attacks James who tells her that Bedlam doesn't deserve her loyalty to which she counters saying she owes him her life. By now Bedlam is recovering from Siryn's scream and turns his powers to infest the minds of his enemies with chaos and hoping to make the damage permanent. That's when Jesse shows up, apparently regreting his abandonment of X-Force he disrupts the psionic amplifier and tell his brother how he's realized how crazy he is and how he must be stopped. Bedlam lashes out, calling his brother a moron since now he can't control Armageddon Man so the West Coast is doomed. Disasters assualt the West Coast as a result of Armageddon Man's powers being unleashed and the whole place starts falling apart. Chris Bedlam tells his brother it's all his fault and that he should have let him die with his parents. He tells Jesse how he drove his parents insane and made them crash the car because they wanted to send him away to military school and how he's going to do the same to his brother. Just then he realizes that his powers aren't working because of the feedback from when the psi-amp was destroyed. Jesse is angry and wants to hurt his brother, but instead demands to know how they can stop Armageddon Man. Bedlam tells him to just suffer, he isn't going to tell him anything for ruining all his plans.

Moonstar approaches a very terrified Senator Danville and asks him to tell her everything about Armageddon Man so that they can stop him. He says they stopped him with an air strike, but that he's a lot more powerfull now than he was then and his capabilities for destruction were theorized to be limitless. Tarot tells Dani that she read the files theorizing that Armageddon Man drew power from lines of power in the earth and how he can't be stopped so long as he's grounded. Bedlam yells at her for once again betraying him after all he's done for her and she replies that she owes him her life, not theirs and she won't have all these deaths on her conscience. He tells her that if she wants to die a martyr that fine with him and he calls the Hellions to him. The error here is that Feral says "Vamanos" instead of Vamonos which is Spanish for let's go. It would have been really simple to look up *sigh* The Hellions are leaving though, and Tarot goes with them telling Bedlam that he knows she can't live without him. Meltdown yells at Feral to get back there, that nothing excuses what she did to Siryn. To this Feral sarcasticaly replies that she'll send Terry a card. Before the team can chase the Hellions, Domino tells them they have bigger problems, the reactor is going to breach. Dani tells Jesse to shut down the reactor power grid without causing a meltdown and tells the rest of them to do whatever they can to seal the coolant tower whilse she finds Sam to see if they can tranquilize Armageddon Man. Sam says don't bother, he's right there and Magma is with him. She uses her powers to seal the reactor and Sam tells her he knew she wasn't a killer to which she replies that neither is she a hero and she intends to use her powers for her own benefit. Sam tells her that she says that now, but he's confident that the good person he knew is still inside of her and she tells him he's insufferable (another nice touch I thought).

Dani senses that Armageddon Man is in pain and that his destructive rampage is tearing him apart. The others wonder at this for they thought that her psionic abilities were history. Jesse comments that when Dani spaces out she goes full tilt, which was a nice touch. Dani says that Armageddon Man is approaching critical mass and asks Sam if he can get her close to him. Dani hits him with quantam blasts, allowing Meltdown's timebombs to knock him off balance, which in turn gives James a chance to lift Armageddon Man into the air. James hurls him up and Dani tells Sam that it's his turn now. Sam hits him with everything he's got after putting Dani down, and soon both of them are falling. Sam barely recovers before hitting the ground. The collision has rendered Armageddon Man unconscious and Domino finds some carbon rods to absorb the radiation of Armageddon Man, which James wraps around him. Danville is amazed that they've stopped the menace and asks for a phone so they can put him back on ice. Proudstar tells him that Armageddon Man deserves to be cured, not thrown in cold storage for another forty years. Paradigm has recovered and is heading for the muntants, but he tells them that he has no intention of fighting and Dani tells him that she knows something about them from the connection she made with him last issue that allowed her to free the team from his control and that she doesn't think that the Hellions will help him reach his next stage of existance. He agrees and is going to leave in search of technology and biology to incorporate into his being, but he hopes to meet Dani again.

He goes off and Dani says that they had better find a truck to load Armageddon Man into and take off. Senator Danville tells her to hang on, that they don't have the facilities to contain Armageddon Man and that it's a matter that they should turn over to the proper authorities. Dom agrees with him, though the team expresses doubts that he will be treated humanely. Danville gives them his word that it will be so in exchange for their silence over the whole affair. The team agrees, but warn him that they'll check up on him. With a reminder on who saved his butt that day, Meltdown and the team leave. Sam is driving the others to the hospital in what looks like the gar Jesse gased up earlier in the issue, when they see Jesse on the road. Dani asks what are they going to do about him since he set them up for his brother. Sam tells her that it's more complicated than that, and that Jesse did stand up for them in the end. So even though Sam doesn't like Jesse he tells him that it's a long walk and he may as well get in the car. Jesse is surprised, but Proudstar tells him that they all make mistakes, and Jesse joins them.

We see Sunspot sitting in the hospital watching the news coverage of the action after X-Force left the scene. When the team shows up he tells them that Siryn is in the OR and that he told the doc that she was attacked by a mountain lion. The news coverage doesn't give X-Force any credit for what they did and implies that the events might be connected to the terrorist group, X-Force, giving the team all the blame. The doctor comes out asking for Mr. DaCosta and sees the others in their "colorfull outfits" and asks if they are all family (priceless! What a great touch!). James replies that they are the closest thing to it and he lets them in to see Siryn who doesn't look so bad. The doctor tells them though that there was serious damage to her vocal cords though, and that they don't know if she'll ever talk again...

This issue packed in a lot of action and characterization. A masterfull job. It's nice to see Dani take charge and Sam rush off and do something stupid for once. Dani is a pretty good leader and this issue seems to show us that she's likely to be co-leading the team probably with Sam like in the old New Mutants days. I liked the way Siryn was shown as a leader before she got hurt and the way her injury should bring home to the teens the dangers of their job. Excellent issue, highly recommended.

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