Appearing in "The Skeleton Key"
- X-Force (Reforms)
- Quiet Council of Krakoa
- Healer (Death; off-panel)
- Black Tom Cassidy
- XENO (Main story and flashback) (Name first revealed)
- The Man with the Peacock Tattoo (Main story and flashback)
- Finnegan (Main story and flashback)
- Reavers (Main story and flashback) (Death of several)
- Numerous unnamed members (Main story and flashback)
- John Grey (Mentioned)
- Elaine Grey (Mentioned)
- Sara Grey (Mentioned)
- Colossus (Piotr Rasputin)
- Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Name only)
- Numerous unnamed New Yorkers
- Forge (Name only)
- Weapon X (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- Humans (Main story and flashback)
- Mutants (Main story and flashback)
- Cyborgs (Main story and flashback)
- Earth (Main story and flashback)
- South Korea (Main story and flashback)
- Pacific Ocean
- United States of America
- Atlantic Ocean
- The Pointe (First appearance)
- Hell (Invoked)
- Wolverine's Suit
- Inhibitor Collar
- Magneto's Helmet
- Flowers of Krakoa
- Cerebro Sword (Name only)
Synopsis for "The Skeleton Key"
About a week ago: Domino is tortured by the anti-mutant group she had been trying to infiltrate. Pieces of her skin are sliced off and grafted onto the group’s bio-engineered soldiers. While she suffers, the man with the peacock tattoo tells her that she is the group’s key to unlocking evolution.
The present: Wolverine stands over the shredded bodies of the half-built, skinless soldiers that attacked him and Kid Omega. Wolverine finds Quentin in the next room and slashes open the tank where Domino is being held on the edge of death. She collapses into his arms; her right side has been flayed to the muscle and her right eye has been removed. Suddenly, an enormous, hulking skinless man bursts into the room. Wolverine picks Domino up and they run.
They make it outside the factory, but the giant bursts through the wall behind them. Domino weakly tells Wolverine to destroy the power-inhibiting collar around her neck. A swipe of adamantium claws later and Domino’s luck powers negate the psionic blocker around the building. With access to his powers restored, Quentin forms a psychic rocket launcher and blasts the creature into oblivion.
As the monster’s body smolders, Quentin psionically blocks Domino’s pain receptors and gives her back the use of her right arm and leg. However, he can’t restore her memories of the last week due to the trauma she’s endured. Domino says she remembers bits and pieces of her mission and a man with a peacock tattoo. Wolverine suggests they search the remains of the lab but Domino holds him back. A second later, the building explodes.
Marvel Girl and Beast bring the newly activated backup Cerebro unit from Cradle One to Arbor Magna, where Professor Xavier’s husk is maturing in an egg. Beast is struggling with the philosophical implications of mutants’ newfound ability to defeat death. Jean tells him that her experiences dying and being reborn numerous times have made her less selfish; that without needing to fear death, mutants can be more focused on their community than their individual needs. Jean transfers Xavier’s psychic backup from Cerebro to the husk and it breaks out of its egg. Xavier is reborn.
Meanwhile, Sage and Healer leave the Healing Gardens, where the last surviving mercenary lies unconscious, barely clinging to life. A figure emerges from the shadows and clamps a hand over the man’s nose and mouth. The merc suffocates to death, taking all answers about the attack on Krakoa with him. An intelligence report indicates that all of the mercenaries’ corpses were booby-trapped and exploded before they could be autopsied.
Black Tom Cassidy tells Magneto that the media is gathered at every Krakoan gate because of rumors that Xavier was assassinated. Tom says he'd send vines to strangle them all if it was up to him, so Magneto had better do something. Magneto walks through the gate to Washington Square Park to speak with a gaggle of reporters. Before he can say a word, however, Xavier himself walks through the gate as well. He tells the reporters that he will always be there for them.
After the celebration of Xavier’s resurrection on Krakoa, Magneto presents Xavier with the sword he crafted from the pieces of Cerebro that were shattered by the assassin’s bullet. Xavier accepts the sword and hangs it on the wall above his bed.
Later, Xavier and Magneto summon Wolverine, Domino, Marvel Girl, Kid Omega, Beast, and Sage to the Pointe for a clandestine meeting. Xavier tells the gathered mutants that Krakoa needs a shadow operation to match the tactics used by their enemies. He christens the team his new X-Force.
Elsewhere, the man with the peacock tattoo speaks to his masked followers, who he calls XENO. He tells them to continue working in the shadows, fomenting and supporting mutant hatred and experimenting on abducted mutants to further XENO’s evolution.
THE BEST DEFENSE…
TARGET: ALL ENEMIES OF MUTANTKIND!
First, the new team strikes back against the humans who took one of their own. Then, with its orders established, the new X-Force hits the ground running, taking on deadly threats targeting mutantkind’s rightful place in the world…