Armageddon Now Part Two - Blood & Betrayal
Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), Jim Cheung (penciler), Mark Morales & Rob Stull (inks), Marie Javins (colors), Comicraft’s Dave Lanphear (letters)
Summary: X-Force is shocked to discover Feral as the final member of the New Hellions. Jesse’s brother, now calling himself King Bedlam, assures X-Force that the Hellions aren’t a threat. Domino seems to agree, so the team spends the night at Bedlam’s winery. Later, when X-Force discovers that Domino has been body-swapped with the Hellion Switch, they confront Bedlam. During the fight, Jesse refuses to side against his brother, allowing Paradigm to encase X-Force in his living circuitry. After Bedlam reveals his plot to awaken the Armageddon Man, a dangerous mutant kept in suspended animation by the military for decades, Jesse begins to question his decision.
Continuity Notes: Tarot makes it clear that she was in fact killed by Sentinels back in Uncanny X-Men #281. She naturally doesn’t reveal how she’s back to life, but implies that working with Bedlam is some karmic fate she must live out.
Production Note: The cover date reads March 1999, while the indicia lists this as the April 1999 issue.
Review: After teasing the readers for half of the issue by delaying the fight, we finally see X-Force vs. the New Hellions. And, because this is the middle chapter of the storyline, the heroes have to lose. Moore’s selection of Hellions works pretty well, as most of the characters have some history with at least a few members of X-Force. Feral is the member who’s already betrayed them, Magma is the former New Mutant who’s apparently the latest traitor (although her behavior is so odd, it seems inevitable that some mind control will be revealed later), Proudstar and Tarot are former Hellions, and of course Bedlam and Jesse are brothers. By delaying the fight, Moore has time to work in some of the conversations that the long-time fans want to see. Sunspot and Meltdown confront Feral for her previous betrayal, Cannonball questions Magma’s new personality, and Proudstar and Tarot reflect on their past as Moore drops cryptic hints about her revival. While King Bedlam himself comes across as a fairly generic mutant supremacist villain, there’s more than enough going on to distract from his blandness.