'Uncanny X-Men': The History of the Mutant Liberation Front
This extremist mutant-rights group has been terrorizing innocent people for decades...
In UNCANNY X-MEN #15, the Mutant Liberation Front has returned to the forefront of the Marvel Universe. Moreover, they have returned to being a thorn in the side of mutants striving for peaceful co-existence. Here’s more about the mission and history of this antagonistic association.
Peace for Hostages
Long a cousin of sorts to Magneto’s more famous Brotherhood of (Evil) Mutants, the Front has similarly embraced violence over rhetoric, dominance over harmony.
However, while the Brotherhood existed in opposition to the X-Men, the Front initially presented as more of a problem for the New Mutants.
It all began with a violent act and a demand: release Rusty and Skids. Cable, much like the United States government, refused to negotiate with a group that viewed as terrorists. However, when he proved unable to stop them, a skirmish unfolded. In the chaos of the moment, a guard accidentally shot and wounded Rusty, which drove Skids and the injured Rusty into the MLF’s open embrace. The extremist group escaped with their political prisoners secured and Cable and his team utterly empty-handed.
Mission to Madripoor
The MLF later showed up on the New Mutants radar once again, evidently finding refuge in the “anything goes” nation of Madripoor. The team unwisely pursued the Front there, getting easily captured. Only Wolverine’s intervention freed the Mutants, but once again, the MLF evaded capture and their true identities remained almost entirely unknown.
A series of encounters between X-Force and the MLF maintained the status quo between the teams. X-Force found the Front, then the Front clowned X-Force into getting some portion of their goal, and then the Front escaped with ease.
Eventually, though, Garrison Kane managed to track the MLF back to their base and finally laid eyes on Stryfe, the team’s leader. However, when the very sharp villain removed his mask, Kane found himself facing a man who looked exactly like Cable. His shocked hesitation gave the Front all the time they needed to gain the upper hand once more.
After years of small skirmishes and seemingly minor heists, Stryfe decided to take the MLF to the next level in a huge way. Using his resemblance to Cable to get close to Professor X, the villain assassinated the voice for mutant-human integration during a major public appearance.
In the chaos that follows, Stryfe escaped. However, the act demanded more than just the attention of X-Force. The X-Men and X-Factor also become involved, and the MLF finally began to lose ground. In the end, Stryfe abandoned them and the trio of X-teams decimated the organization.
Stryfe went on to become a solo villain and, in time, stood unmasked as a clone of Cable. Meanwhile, the MLF languished.
That all changed, however, when Reignfire jump-started the group with a daring prison break. Then he announced their first mission: kill Peter Gyrich. The Force, aware of Gyrich being no friend of mutantkind, eagerly signed up for the job. Eventually Feral defected to them too, so disgusted that being a part of X-Force forced her to defend the bigot.
Despite Feral’s switch, however, X-Force managed to stop the attempted murder.
Betrayed from Within
Moonstar began to grow suspicious of team leader Reignfire, even as she too played both sides of the fence. She taught the MLF teamwork but also remained in contact with X-Force, eventually helping them to capture Feral.
It turned out that double agent recognizes double agent, however, as Moonstone’s suspicions proved right. Reignfire turned on the team, taking them out one by one, until he revealed himself to be none other than the assumed missing Sunspot.
MLF and the Legacy Virus
The mutant extremists became fixated on the Legacy Virus and, despite its mutant-killing power, manufacturing their own strain of it. Moonstar, now fully revealed as an undercover agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., did her best to undermine and sabotage them at every turn, at one point getting them caught by Excalibur.
Eventually, the Front’s insistence on gaining the Virus led them into the midst of the ZERO TOLERANCE crisis. While not her intention, Moonstar ended up letting them be captured by Zero Tolerance troops and escaped on her own.
Since the Mutant Liberation Front has disappeared – until now. Catch up with UNCANNY X-MEN to see what the Front wants now and where they fit into a very different mutant landscape than they’re used to.
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