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"As I Die Lying"
written by Peter Milligan
art by Mike Allred
May 2002

Short summary: While breaking in new recruit Dead Girl into the fold, Edie and Tike really want to know whose number is up. It wouldn't hurt to know, considering that they are going into their most dangerous mission yet.

However, given team dynamics are changing. Spike is becoming more antagonistic. Phat and Vivisector are forming their own splinter group. Soon, the mutant soldiers that they will be facing are going to be their least of their worries.

Last issue, X-Force was sent into space for their latest mission. First they must rescue a group of hostages from an army of genetically engineered mutant soldiers. Then, they must become hostages themselves, and await rescue. And being that the harbinger of death gave them a heads up, this isn't going to be easy for anybody. Especially for Tike, Guy, and Edie.

This is X-Force at its best. While we have become accustomed to team members being offed at the drop of a hat (the body count stands at 9 and counting), despite advance buzz from upcoming issues, the readers know much better than to believe anything until the actual issue is in their own hands.

Character dynamics are especially strong in this issue. While revealing a new side to the friendship between Myles and Phat (they're both gay!), The Spike has replaced Tike as the resident excrement-disturber of the group.

Formerly unlikeable characters have grown and matured throughout the course of the series. Tike is slightly more sympathetic and deep down insecure (my money's on Tike as the next one to bite it), while U-Go Girl constantly wrestles her feelings between that of deceased teammate Zeitgeist (offed in the first issue) and still-living teammate Guy.

Team dynamics take a sour turn.
Dead Girl displays her mutant talents.

New member Dead Girl is proving to be a pretty useful member of the team, mostly because of her potential longevity. With the mutant ability to recuperate from just about any sort of injury, regardless of how severe (along with her clothing as well -- probably has something to do with Reed Richard's patented "unstable molecules"), one can be assured that the only way she is going to be leaving the team is if she quits on her own volition.

These powers do come with a price. Remembering her former life as a New York based stage actress, she recollects being murdered at the hands of her boyfriend, only to resurrect herself and exact her revenge. But is it the truth? She doesn't even know if those memories are her own, or something hse made up in order for her to make sense of it all.

Or, knowing how Marvel Comics works, if she's actually the byproduct of a secret covert operation in order to create superhuman mutant soldiers for the Canadian government, given genetic and mechanical enhancements as well as memory implants in order to prevent knowledge of said Canadian government military installment of ever coming to...ah, never mind.

Despite her supposed immortality, she is very vulnerable, afraid of what is going ot happen later, knowing full well that everyone around her will die, leaving her very much alone..