Comic Book Review: X-Force #1

Spinning out from the dramatic ending of Messiah Complex comes the newest incarnation of X-Force. And I actually like the purpose of this X-Force more than the preceding versions of this team. Due to the events of Messiah Complex, Cyclops has seen the need for a black ops team like X-Force to pull off the dirty missions that the X-Men cannot be connected with or handle at all. If nothing else, X-Force should supply us with tons of action and a relatively fast paced story. Let’s go ahead and do this review for X-Force #1.

Creative Team
Writers: Craig Kyle & Chris Yost
Artist: Clayton Crain

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Scott and Wolverine meeting at Angel’s house in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Cyclops tells Logan that Reverend Matthew Risman, the leader of the Purifiers, turned himself into a North Dakota SHIELD facility. Evidently, Risman had a Purifier working on the inside who helped him kill 16 SHIELD agents and steal something from the SHIELD facility.

Cyclops states that this was a huge departure for the Purifiers who have always only targeted mutants. This was their first time targeting humans. That there are Purifier members who are inside the government and that is why SHIELD ignored the Purifiers’ attack on the X-Mansion and on the hospital in Alaska. However, SHIELD cannot ignore this attack on one of their own facilities.

Scott says it is only a matter of time before whatever Risman stole from the SHIELD facility is used against mutants. Cyclops says that he wants Logan to lead X-Force and go after Risman and his Purifiers before they have a chance to do whatever they have planned. That X-Force is to eliminate them permanently.

Logan doesn’t know if he should be impressed with Scott or worried that Scott has snapped. Logan asks what Emma thinks about this plan. Scott replies that Emma doesn’t need to know. Logan replies that he is impressed. Logan then says that Warpath is MIA. Scott replies that he knows exactly where Warpath is.

We cut to Warpath visiting his brother’s grave outside Camp Verde in Arizona. Warpath mentions how his brother would have known how to handle everything. That Warpath needs his brother to teach him and to guide him on his quest. Warpath asks for his brother’s forgiveness and for Caliban’s forgiveness for failing to save him. Warpath then slices his hand and makes a blood oath to give Caliban’s spirit vengeance. Warpath swears that the Purifiers will die.

We shift back to Logan and Scott talking. Scott tells Logan that Lady Wolverine is already in the field. Logan is pissed that Scott would already send her into the field without talking to him first. Logan doesn’t want Lady Wolverine to kill again. Logan wants her to have a chance for a new life and to be a real person.

We slide over to Lady Wolverine who is investigating the SHIELD facility in North Dakota. She gets Risman’s scent. She calls Cyclops and informs him that she is ready to track Risman and asks what her mission is going to be. Scott instructs Lady Wolverine to stay with Risman and to call back once she has Risman’s location.

Wolverine then punches Scott and says that Lady Wolverine is his responsibility and that Scott should have talked to him first. Logan says that Scott should not send Wolfsbane and Warpath down this path as well. Logan says that he will do this mission alone. Cyclops replies that the team is going to happen. That this isn’t X-Men work. This is X-Force and no one can know. Scott said he isn’t asking for Logan’s permission.

Logan then tells Wolfsbane, who has been standing to the side this entire time, that she doesn’t want to get involved in all of this. Rahne replies that she has to get involved. That she has to know.

We cut to outside a church of William Stryker in North Dakota. We see that the Purifiers Nimrod back in their possession. He is half destroyed. That until now they have been unable to restore his powers. We see Lady Wolverine, Wolverine and Warpath assembled outside of the church. Logan urges Laura and James to not go down this path and to walk away from X-Force now. That they won’t be X-Men. That they will just be killers. The two refuse to leave.

We slip back inside the church where the Purifiers reveal that they now have the head of Bastion, a version of Nimrod after he merged with Master Mold, which they must have gotten from the SHIELD facility. They place the head of Bastion on Nimrod’s body and they give new life to Bastion. Bastion comes online and then immediately states that mutants are detected.

We shift to X-Force busting into the Church and kick ass on the guards. Warpath ends up killing a guard that was about to kill Lady Wolverine. They then arrive in the inner sanctum of the Church and see that Risman has Wolfsbane tied up and captive. Risman places a gun to her head and promises to kill her unless X-Force surrenders.

Lady Wolverine claims that Risman is bluffing and attacks. Risman replies that he doesn’t bluff and pulls the trigger. End of story.

Comments
The Good: X-Force #1 was an entertaining debut issue. Kyle and Yost mix in all the basic ingredients that are necessary for a successful debut issue of a new title. It is always important for a new title to quickly establish a mission statement and give the reader an idea of the purpose and direction of the new title. And at the same time the debut issue must start quick enough to hook the reader into adding this new title to their regular pull list.

Kyle and Yost clearly establish the mission statement of X-Force as the black ops strike force for the X-Men. The dirty jobs that the higher profile X-Men simply cannot be associated are automatically assigned to X-Force. This gives X-Force a clearly defined purpose and place within the X-hierarchy.

X-Force #1 is certainly a fast paced story, yet at no point does it feel rushed or hurried. Kyle and Yost do a nice job of delivering a balanced read that treats the reader to some solid dialogue heavy scenes along with plenty of adrenaline pumping action scenes.

Kyle and Yost serve up some solid dialogue. It isn’t anything spectacular, but they get the personalities of the various characters down right. And the dialogue has a proper flow that makes it enjoyable to read. And honestly, finely crafted dialogue and strong character is not going to be a strong point or a priority on a title full of brawler characters that are all basically the exact same personality. Plus, none of them are real talkers in the first place.

I enjoyed Kyle and Yost’s handling of Cyclops in this issue. I continue to totally dig Scott’s new attitude and his willingness to approve certain missions that are undoubtedly dirty but equally necessary. Mutants are an endangered species and each day presents a new mortal threat. Cyclops’ decision to go on the offensive and take out anti-mutant groups like the Purifiers before they attack reflects the new era that mutants find themselves in. No longer can the X-Men sit back and play defensively.

I also like the supreme confidence that Scott exudes and his willingness to shoulder the weight as the undisputed leader of the X-Men. Scott could care less about anyone’s opinion. Either Logan or Emma. Scott is going to do what he thinks is the best course of action and people can either get aboard or leave. Nothing is open to debate. In times of crisis, there is a need for one voice and one mind making all the crucial decisions. Scott has certainly embraced that role. .

I enjoyed how Kyle and Yost write Warpath’s character. They do a fine job tapping into Warpath’s feelings of remorse and guilt toward both his brother and Caliban. The reader gets a good sense of the overwhelming feelings of loneliness as well as how Warpath continually views himself as full of inadequacies compared to his dead brother. In just a short scene, Kyle and Yost manage to give Warpath’s character a bit more depth.

X-Force #1 ends with a pretty cool hook ending. We get the appearance of Bastion back in the hands of the Purifiers and the stunning hook ending of whether Risman killed Rahne or not. That certainly is a fine effort in order to entice readers to coming back for the next issue of X-Force.

Clayton Crain cranks out some wonderful looking artwork. I really enjoy Crain’s style of artwork. However, I understand that Crain’s particular style of art is an acquired taste. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are fans who don’t appreciate Crain’s heavy painted style of artwork. Crain reminds me a lot of Boris Vallejo.

The Bad: I still don’t dig X-23’s character. She is the only character on X-Force’s roster that I could care less about. However, she doesn’t detract from the story at all and she does fit in with the rest of the roster. I know I’m in the minority when it comes to X-23. The vast majority of fans dig derivative characters of a popular hero. Especially when that derivative character is a teenage female. That is very trendy and is all the rage at the moment.

Overall: X-Force #1 was a solid read and certainly provides the reader with some quality entertainment. If you dig action based comic books with plenty of ass-kickers violently taking out the bad guys then you should definitely pick up a copy of X-Force #1. On the other hand, if you are a fan of comic books with finely crafted dialogue and a commitment to strong character work then X-Force is probably not the title for you.

3 Comments

  1. Kyle and Yost’s New X-Men specialized in near non-stop action mixed with good characterization; a lot of people thought it was a poor fit
    for that title, since it was about teenage mutants, so it’s a better fit for a series like this.

    I disagree about the personalities; certainly, everyone has a similar powerset, but I think their personalities are fairly different. I’m particularly interesting in the take on Wolverine, who, while perfectly happy to do the dirty work himself, objects to involving other people in it.

    I’m not really clear on why Cyclops feels the need to keep this from Emma (quite apart from the “how” of that; is he going to store it in the “1997 tax returns” file in his brain?); she wouldn’t care, if anything, she’d approve.

    I imagine Rahne’s motivation for wanting to join involves what that Reaver said about Reverend Craig in the “Messiah CompleX” brawl in #46.

  2. I think X-Force suits Kyle and Yost perfectly. As good as their use of characters is, the never ending violent action in New X-Men felt somewaht out of place sometimes, but it fits in a title like this.

    I like how despite the similar powersets, they show that every character has very different personalities and their own reasons for doing this.

    Just an obsevartion, as much as you passionately dislike X-23, I don’t think you should be refering to her as Lady Wolverine in your synopsis of the issue if you expect people to take it seriously.

  3. I’m curious, have you read NYX, X-23: Innocence Lost or Target X? Have you followed Laura through her days with the New X-Men?

    I’ve found a lot of people that hate the character or view her as redundant, useless or Lady Wolverine typically, and I’m not saying you are guilty of this, have not read anything substantial that features the character. Her origin and NYX appearances were especially good, in my opinion at least.

    Still, good review. I agreed with most everything. Book was a very good start. Not great, but made me take notice that this isn’t just Wolverine and the rest of the claw brigade cashing in on the last crossover with a new title.

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