REVIEW: X-Force #1

x-force-1-cover.jpgWriters: Craig Kyle and Chris Yost

Artist: Clayton Crain

Marvel Comics

Cyclops has decided its time for a Black Ops X-Men team that’s willing to kill. This is the final breakdown of the superhero code for the X-Men and a huge step and secret. Somehow Cyclops is keeping this hidden from Emma Frost, his telepathic girlfriend, as well as ignoring years upon years of established continuity. The cause? The Purifiers, a Humanity’s Last Stand knockoff who have a mystery item.

This is a shaky premise, as recognized by the team’s leader, Wolverine. Joining this team is an admission that these characters won’t be rehabilitated as Wolverine himself and later, Gambit and Rogue were. They are set to be killers and do what they must to succeed. Are they necessary? Maybe, but really, resorting to wholesale slaughter of these enemies is a final step, not one to be taken when the X-Men have so frequently dealt with problems of this nature. The case could be made that with so few mutants left, it’s become a survival issue, but again, simply defeating and incapacitating these enemies should be enough. That’s years of continuity and character development gone in a flash.

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This is especially problematic with Wolverine leading the team. There is nothing here to suggest this cannot be done by Logan alone, as he has indeed had many similar adventures in the past. Likely that would be his choice, or even just he and James Proudstar. The other characters are those Logan would prevent going on a mission like this for years, especially due to their age. Instead, even with a warning that this will destroy them, he leads them into the lions den. This removes a ton of the heroism from these characters and simply doesn’t work.

On its own terms, pretending the background works, we have a reasonably big threat, rushed to be met by a secret team. Naturally, the X logo is on everyone’s uniform so the secrecy is shot, but that might be more the art than the writing. Of course, since the art is otherwise easily the strongest part of the issue that also fails. The art is highly detailed, looking heroic and gritty at once, which is the only way this story can work with the heroism so in question. For the series to work the moral dilemmas of who to go after and how to use lethal force on must be played up. Right now, this doesn’t fit in the bounds of these characters personalities or the established Marvel Universe. With some work, this could pass, but right now, it’ll only succeed due to the Wolvernine name, the X brand, and people going “oh cool blood!” Welcome back 1990s.

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