The Young and the Restless
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Paul Pelletier (penciler), Harry Candelario, Scott Hanna, & Charles Barnett (inkers), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Monica Bennett (colorist)
Saul, Gideon, and Absalom visit Cannonball and Boomer in Kentucky. Saul tells of the time he met Apocalypse in the twelfth century. Apocalypse, still called En Sabah Nur, traveled to Mongolia to see if Saul was indeed immortal. When Saul showed him the alien spacecraft his tribe discovered fifty years earlier, En Sabah Nur stabbed him in the back and took control of the craft. Absalom tells Cannonball of his past in Wyoming in the late 1800s. When he was hanged for murder, his mutant powers surfaced. He was shot down by the frightened townspeople, but awoke two days later inside a coffin. He vowed not to become the person he once was, but tells Cannonball that he’s never lived up to who he would like to be. He’s now dying of the Legacy Virus and is searching for a meaning to life. Gideon tells the story of his arrival in America. He was a deckhand on the Pinta as Christopher Columbus sailed to America. Gideon died of scurvy on the boat, but awoke the next day. He arrived in the New World and vowed to make the most of his opportunities. These three immortals have come to Kentucky because their fellow External, Burke, used his precognitive powers to see that Cannonball is in some way connected to a cure for the Legacy Virus. Cannonball tells them that he doesn’t know what they’re talking about, and chides them for behaving like frightened children now that death might be coming for them. Angered, Absalom’s powers flare. Gideon assumes that the Legacy Virus is finally killing him, but Absalom holds on to life. Cannonball tells the Externals that they should make their remaining moments matter, regardless of how much time they have left. They leave peacefully, and Cannonball tells Boomer that they’ll live day by day from now on.
Absalom lists Selene as one of the Externals, which is the first time she was connected to the group, I believe. He also says that both Nicodemus and Burke have recently died of the Legacy Virus. The alien ship Apocalypse stole from Saul turns out to be Celestial starship X-Factor later used as a base.
Cannonball says that he is twenty, which would make at least one X-Force member no longer a teenager. I wonder if this was done to make the upcoming Generation X characters seem younger. The idea that Cannonball somehow has the key to the cure of the Legacy Virus was never resolved, but I wonder if it was intended to coincide with the Zero storyline going on in Excalibur.
With one issue to kill before the Phalanx crossover, Nicieza decides to go back to the Externals storyline, which already seemed forgotten at this point. Reading any story with the Externals is strange, knowing that Marvel will completely toss out the plotline in a few months. It’s hard not to read these issues and get the feeling that it’s all pointless. The Externals are given an interesting dilemma, facing death for the first time at the hands of the Legacy Virus, even if none of their flashback scenes are that exciting. I do like the fact that Nicieza doesn’t portray them as one-dimensional villains and leaves open the possibility that they could change. Cannonball receives a nice portrayal here, but hearing him talk about the importance of making today matter over and over again gets old. This probably would’ve worked better as a subplot, because it doesn’t feel like there’s enough material to be the main story of the issue. Paul Pelletier does a fine job on the fill-in art, making me wish that more traditional artists like him were used more often in these days.