X-Force (1991) - #96
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John Francis Moore
Chris Eliopoulos - '(principally a letterer)'
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Cover Date: November 1999
Cover Price: US $1.99
Issue Tagline: Digging Up The Past
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 48 pages
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Letters Column: X-Clamations
Cannonball literally pulls his uncle from Arkansas' Beaumont State Correctional Facility. Lucas Guthrie is serving time for grand theft auto, but his mutant nephew needs to talk about a family incident. Sam wants to know about the men that his father and Lucas buried in a field years ago. The older man agrees on the condition they talk about it at his favorite "gentleman's club" in Texas.
Lucas Guthrie took a seemingly easy job to steal a semi loaded with cigarettes. The gig turned ugly when a night watchman spotted them and began to shoot. His partner fired back receiving a fatal bullet wound. With his last breath, he insisted Lucas finish the job. His lifeless body then morphed into a hideous monster.
Things were more than a little strange, so Lucas pulled over to look through the cargo. He found a large statue covered in strange symbols. He got the feeling that it did not come from this world. Lucas immediately returned to his house, but someone had already been there looking through his possessions. He called upon the only person that would help him, his brother (and Sam's father). Ty reluctantly agreed. The two men take the vehicle and the mysterious being to the drop-off point without realizing that little Sam slipped out of the house as the two men argued and quietly hopped onto the back of the truck.
With Ty covering his back, Lucas nearly received his payment allowing them to leave the sinister roadhouse, but one of the sentries spotted Sam peeking into an underground lab where children were subjects of cruel experimentation. These "men" were actually Deviants lacking the genetic adaptability found in humans. They planned to use the Celestial Golem, a biological construct of the cosmic Celestials, to provide them the evolutionary advantage. The Guthries had no hope of leaving alive now that they knew the dark secret.
As the captors activated the golem, Lucas reached for the closest gun and created a distraction. The Deviants reverted to their true forms but could not give chase. The uncontrolled golem attacked them giving the humans enough time to make it out of the facility. Ty rushed back into the lab to rescue the children, but he emerged with the golem close behind.
A car pulled up at that moment with an odd little man named Sledge. He confronted the golem with wearing harness that generated a forcefield or psionic exo-skeleton powerful enough to match the Golem's strength. Slege shut the rampaging creature down. He later explained to the bewildered Guthrie men that he needed to keep it out of Indigo's hands. Luke and Ty buried the dead Deviants, and Sledge used a small device to wipe the event from the memories of the children, including Sam.
Domino helps Cannonball break Lucas back into jail. He is grateful to learn the truth but hopes his impatience doesn't add more time to his uncle's sentence. There is also an unspoken optimism that the convicted Guthrie will clean up his act.
The rest of the team enjoys a peaceful day in San Francisco. Moonstar joins Jennifer Kale in a session of Tai-chi near the Golden Gate Bridge, but Danielle catches a brief glimpse of the Demon Bear that has haunted much of her life. Metldown works out her powers while Jesse Bedlam watches. They talk a bit unaware that they are being observed by a member of the Triune Understanding.
Things are little more troubling in Brazil. Sunspot finds Selene holding a SHIELD agent captive. He is appalled, but she explains that the hostage is actually a Deviant working for the Damocles Foundation. Meanwhile, Odysseus Indigo, head of that mysterious organization, meets with Dr. Joshua and Dr. Chandra. They bring him the remains of Reignfire!
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