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Long persecuted for their genetic differences, these mutants-for-hire are cashing in on their special gifts. They stand in defense of the free world -- carrying out dangerous, often life-threatening missions. But that's only part of the story, spun by the privately owned outfit's public-relations machine. In truth, most of their missions are top secret, falling under the media's radar. The members of X-Force are pioneers: mutants living openly in a world that hates and fears them. And they've come to embrace that celebrity. But are they traitors to the cause championed by Professor Charles Xavier and his X-Men?

Base of operations: Mobile
First appearance: X-Force #1 (1991), remade in X-Force #116 (2001)

History: Nature made them unique. Society branded them outcasts. Youth turned them into rebels. They were the next step in the human evolution, born with fantastic powers. Banded together by the time-tossed freedom fighter called Cable, the impulsive mutants who formed the first incarnation of X-Force questioned everything -- including the wisdom and ideals of those who had come before.

Refusing to live according to rules set forth by a generation that could never understand them, the members of X-Force fought for the very survival of their species in a world that had come to hate and fear them. They were soldiers of the atom, visiting retribution on those who would persecute their kind. Whereas the X-Men dedicated their vast resources to the protection of humans, X-Force adopted Cable's attitude toward evil mutants: "Get them before they get you." X-Force was involved in attacks against the extremist Mutant Liberation Front and other genetic terrorists, and itself was branded as such early in its career. Following Cable's departure, X-Force continued to operate outside the law, dodging both its enemies and government agents.

But times change. Ever wary of the abnormal, citizens of the 21st century are surprisingly eager to seize on the sensational. The members of the all-new, all-different X-Force are living Professor Xavier's dream of peaceful coexistence between man and mutant: They are widely accepted, even embraced, by the general populace -- thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of their publicist. But the world at large is unaware of the team's true nature. In contrast to its carefully cultivated public persona, X-Force is a privately owned black-ops outfit that embarks on high-danger, high-profile missions...for a price.

The team's mutant members are cashing in on their special skills, and breaking down barriers and prejudices -- but at no small cost to themselves. Do material rewards compensate for loss of pride, self and identity? Is a world dominated by widespread fear and distrust of mutants really worth saving? These questions and others are asked by an ever-evolving roster of mutant celebrities.