Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Tony Daniel (penciler), Kevin Conrad w/Tim Townsend (inkers), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Marie Javins (colorist)
Thornn is arrested and charged with the murder of her mother, brother, and sister from years earlier. She’s interrogated by her childhood friend Jose Hidalgo, who became a police officer hoping to find out the truth about the murders. Meanwhile, Domino introduces X-Force to their newest headquarters, Arcade’s Murderworld. Shatterstar brags that they’ve taken the complex from Arcade and will fight back if he ever returns. Thornn’s arrest is generating anti-mutant protests outside of the police station where she’s being held. The one phone call she makes is to Cable, who actually has a law degree from Harvard. X-Force stops the Friends of Humanity from killing Thornn while she’s being transferred to prison, and then takes her to the building where she grew up. According to Cable’s plan, Thornn’s sister, Feral, is already there. Feral claims that she knows the real story behind the murders.
Domino says that her ex-husband comes from a long line of in-bred cousins. Was her ex-husband ever revealed?
It’s revealed that Cable graduated Harvard in 1988 and passed the New York bar exam the next year, which is really the strangest Cable revelation yet. A lot of people have speculated that the bar license he flashes is a fake, but Nicieza once said that he wanted this revelation to show that Cable is more than just a trigger-happy tough guy.
This is supposed to be the start of a new era for the series, but it never really begins thanks to the “Age of Apocalypse” storyline and Nicieza’s removal from the book. The Murderworld headquarters gets an eight-page introduction, indicating that this was supposed to be a much bigger deal than it turned out to be. Moving the locale closer to Manhattan is supposed to give the cast new characters to interact with, and more normal settings to explore (Siryn mentions that she’d like a job at a flower shop, Domino lists all of the local colleges, etc.). This never happens, as the cast just ends up isolating itself inside the X-Men’s mansion after “Age of Apocalypse” ends. It’s too bad Nicieza’s plans didn’t go through, since the move would’ve helped to differentiate the title and give it a new direction.
This is one of the storylines I can distinctly remember after fourteen years, and it holds up very well. Feral and Thornn are one-note characters from the Liefeld days on the book that most writers probably would’ve tossed away by this point. Nicieza is actually able to create a realistic backstory for the characters that doesn’t require him to reinvent their personalities. I like the use of Detective Hidalgo as a figure from their past and as the driving force behind the story. Showing the real people Feral and Thorrn knew before they joined the Morlocks helps the story to feel grounded, which is appropriate for the subject matter. Daniel’s art, unfortunately, is often too cartoony for a gritty story about a young woman killing her entire family. He does pull some of the acting off, but too many of the facial expressions consist of teeth-gritting or just total blankness. The last few pages look especially loose, suggesting that he might’ve had some deadline troubles with this issue.