Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Jim Cheung (penciler), Mark Morales, Rob Stull, & Harry Candelario (inks), Marie Javins (colors), Comicraft’s Emerson Miranda (letters)
Summary: X-Force follows Domino to Almost Reno, which is now a ghost town. They eventually find their telepathic friend Mary, who’s discovered another mutant companion, Zack. Agent Briggs and his agents return to kidnap Mary and Zack. X-Force stops them, shortly before Odysseus Indigo arrives. Indigo explains that the Aguilar Institute is a branch of the Damocles Foundation, a group determined to survive the future. Years earlier, the Damocles Foundation mixed mutant and Deviant DNA to give the infertile parents of Almost Reno children. With the exception of Mary and Zack, all of the children have died. X-Force refuses to turn over the two children to Indigo, who peacefully retreats.
Continuity Notes: Indigo says that he is the brother of the “traitor” Ulysses Dragonblood, the Deviant the team encountered in X-Force #84. Almost Reno first appeared in X-Force #77. This issue essentially confirms that Agent Briggs and his SHIELD agents, the villains of #77, are frauds. Apparently, they work for the Damocles Foundation. Zack resembles a gray Ben Grimm, which means he looks like one of those disposable New (or Young?) X-Men characters from the past few years. When he’s hurt in the battle, Moonstar uses her mysterious new powers to heal him.
Review: And here is the all-too-rare sequel to a fill-in issue. X-Force #77 had its moments, but it was heavy on the clichés and stereotypes. Moore corrects a few of those flaws this issue by establishing the generically corrupt SHIELD agents as frauds, and by revealing that nuclear testing didn’t create the child mutants -- it actually made their parents sterile. As a tie-in to the ongoing Damocles Foundation subplot, this isn’t that much of a stretch, so the past continuity works out quite well here.
It is a little odd that the members of X-Force are still exceedingly nasty towards the non-mutant residents of this small town, though. The town’s been kidnapped as a part of the Damocles Foundation’s experiments, and while Indigo promises that they’re okay, the team has no reason to believe him. When Cannonball questions if they should find the citizens, which include Mary’s mother, Domino responds that the town can burn for all she cares. Sheesh. Since she wasn’t even in issue #77, it’s hard to reason why she’s so hostile towards these people. Is she angry that the citizens agreed to genetic testing to cure their sterility? Is that so bad a crime? They just wanted babies. Anyway, aside from those odd bits of characterization, another decent issue.