Uncanny X-Force #17
Well, the title of the post already spoiled what this comic is about, and regular readers of this site would probably expect some blathering rant which usually accompanies an Alpha Flight death where I go on and on whining about disrespecting the characters and how the writer is a stupid jerk and I hate him, etc.
But, to paraphrase Rocky Balboa, if you were to ask me if I had anything derogatory to say about this issue, I’d say it’s great. One of the best comics in the Alpha Flight collection actually, despite the unfortunate outcome for Age of Apocalypse (AoA) Wild Child, who appears as a regular member of the Amazing X-Men.
Chapter 7 of the Dark Angel Saga brings the return of the Age of Apocalypse characters re-introduced to us in issue #11 of this title as AoA Wild Child, Sabretooth, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler and Sunfire teleport in to save Wolverine. Some time must have passed since we saw them last, since Wild Child’s right arm has grown back, but with all the interdimensional hopping, it’s hard to say how much time exactly. Wait, what? Yeah, his right arm was pulled off by the Blob in issue #13 but apparently he got better.
A close up shows his right arm back where it belongs:
The chain that Sabretooth had been using as a leash was notably absent in previous issues in this series, but it returns here. Maybe because, you know, they’re out for a walk in another dimension. Wild Child can be seen in several panels chained up and crouching low next to his master, in very typical imagery for the character.
While attempting to stop Archangel from destroying the entire world, the Amazing X-Men along with Wolverine attack him in the Akkaba stronghold in the metropolis deep under the North Pole. Just like every character and every battle in this issue, it’s a big and bold and powerful scene. Archangel lowers his left wing and pivots a horizontal slice through Wolverine’s chest, Sabretooth’s chest and straight through Wild Child’s entire body, severing him in half with a “Grgaghh–” (and severing the chain, which is a nice touch despite it being a bloody and goopy mess).
Knowing he had an accelerated healing factor that was capable of growing back an arm in just a few issues, it wasn’t clear to readers at the time if Wild Child had actually been killed or not, even though he had been chopped in half. Many of the other characters had taken an insane amount of abuse in these issues from Archangel and it seemed inconceivable that all of them had been killed, especially since there had been solicits out for future Age of Apocalypse-related issues featuring Sabretooth (sliced to bits in a bloody smear), Jean Grey (burnt by her own Phoenix blast) and Nightcrawler (stabbed doubly in the back the points of Archangel’s razor-sharp wingtips). Unfortunately, in issue #19 of this series, AoA Sabretooth confirmed that Wild Child had in fact been killed. It should be noted that in that issue, Rick Remender duly honors his loyalty to Sabretooth with the solemnity and respect deserving of the character.
So nope, no angry rant. The guy got killed ON PANEL by someone more powerful in a fair fight while heroically trying to save the entire world – a world not even his own! Combine that with the tasteful nod that came later and the overall awesomeness of this issue (and the Dark Angel Saga in general) and you get an Alpha Flight death done right.
Note: Wild Child had previously been killed off twice; his 616 version in Wolverine Origins #39 by Omega Red and once in the Mutant X universe (which is designated Earth-1298 for those of you who keep track of those sorts of things) when Sabretooth killed him while rescuing Wolverine’s daughter in Mutant X #29 (March 2001). With the death of the AoA version, all versions of Kyle Gibney are finally put to rest.