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The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – So is Cannonball an External or What?

by  in Comic News Comment
The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – So is Cannonball an External or What?

In this feature we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Lots of people have asked me about this one over the years, but I’ve always been unsure where to include it. I guess I’m going with here!

The whole thing started in X-Force #6 (by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza), where the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants take on X-Force and after encountering Phantazia, Cannonball’s blast shield is not working, leaving him vulnerable to a fatal attack…

After nothing happened to further this plot along in X-Force #7, X-Force #8 (by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza) features a flashback sequence drawn by Mike Mignola, as we learn Cable’s secret origin for encountering the New Mutants in the first place…

The next issue (by Liefeld, Nicieza and Dan Panosian), there is a shocking ending (yes, this is third issue after Cannonball seemingly died and they just now got around to bringing him back)…

In the next issue (by Liefeld, Nicieza, Mark Pacella and Panosian), Cable spells things out to Cannonball…

In X-Force #12 (by Liefeld, Nicieza, Pacella and Panosian), we meet another External, Crule…

Once Liefeld left the book, though, the External subplot was mostly dropped. Cannonball’s immortality was no longer discussed pretty much at all, except for the occasional mention in connection with an External showing up here and there.

In X-Force #54, though, Jeph Loeb just decided to officially drop the whole thing. Read on to see the abrupt end to the Externals!

In the issue (drawn by Adam Pollina and Bud La Rosa), Selene, who was an External, shows up and kills all the other Externals…

And when Tabitha tells her that they will keep her from also killing Cannonball, Selene explains…

Okay, so as far as retcons go, a villain’s word is not much. But clearly the intent WAS for this be a retcon, mixed with a dropped plot (this is why I was unsure to include this in Abandoned Love or Abandoned an’ Forsaked). After all, she is killing all the Externals and she does not intend on killing Cannonball, ergo she is probably believable when she says he is not an External.

The issue, of course, is how then did he survive the injury? That has never been answered, which is why I considered perhaps using this as Left Unresolved instead, ESPECIALLY after New X-Men #28 a number of years later. That issue (written by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost and drawn by Paco Medina and Juan Vlasco) followed the previous issue where Cannonball is shot…

and then the next issue…

I think, then, that this was abandoned and then un-abandoned, which is fair enough to me, as I don’t think there’s really any other way to explain how Cannonball survived the first time withOUT him having some sort of special healing powers. Hmmm…maybe it was a secondary mutation!

If you have an idea for a future edition of Abandoned an’ Forsaked, drop me a line at!

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