Writers: Warren Ellis and Ian Eddington
Penciller: Whilce Portacio
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan
Ongoing Series (four issue arc 'Games Without Frontiers', 102-105)
Published by Marvel Comics 2000
by A.B. Schwartz
back when, X-Force was created out of the ashes of the New Mutants.
The object of the team was to act as a "para-military strike force"
that would follow Charles Xavier's dream, but in a more active fashion.
least, that's the theory. Over the years since X-Force's debut,
the title has meandered in different directions. Warren has managed,
in his own special way, to return X-Force to the groups' roots,
while still adding a bit of…
Counter-X titles, under Warren's supervision, have each gained their
own identity and purpose. X-force's purpose and identity have been
changed from "Cable's students" to "Warren's acolytes", if you will.
The new purpose of X-Force is to work as an underground squad of
mutants, investigating the things that lie beneath the mainstream
Marvel Universe; A group of rebellious mutants who are actively
trying to change the world for the better.
familiar? There are a number of similarities between X-Force and
Authority, but utilizing the elements laid out in Authority, while
working in the Marvel Universe - specifically the micro-managed
X-books - allows for an entertaining read.
having read Excalibur, I wasn't very familiar with the character
of Pete Wisdom, but he was a refreshing change from past "leaders"
of X-Force. His very presence and attitude in the first issue gave
the reader an idea of where the comic was going, comparing to where
it's been. Ellis uses Pete to introduce new concepts - new to X-titles,
anyways - and move the book in a new direction.
Wisdom is the catalyst for change in X-Force. He is now the leader
of X-Force, and the first issue sees the team helping out some Russians
in need. Prevalent throughout the four issues is Wisdom's comments
about how the world has a "dark side", where "nutter scientists"
can start their own war in San Francisco, by accelerating the mutant
gene in humans.
the Authority takes on the global, wide-screen, and larger-than-life
scenarios, X-Force attempts to take on the dirtier side of life;
the side of life usually reserved for the phrase "Black Ops".
trimmed down team, comprising of Wisdom, Tabitha(Boomer), Jesse,
Sam(Cannonball) and James Proudstar, sport new uniforms and some
new powers. One of the abilities I've always admired about Warren
is his ability to take crappy old plotlines, and make them relevant.
Not relevant in a "Oh my god, it's him, but we thought he was dead"
way, but in a "your powers are a little different because of this"
way. It seems that most writers either ignore continuity, or rely
on it too much.
is one of the few who manages to find a middle ground.
first four issues is a story of X-Force trying to clean up a mutant/human
war started in a major US city. Someone or something has found a
way to tap into the mutant gene for certain individuals, while turning
them in to bestial killing machines.
bloodshed in an x-book; Some things are worth waiting for. If you
ever liked Authority, then you should probably pick up this book,
just for the phrase "Death from Above"; Some of the wide-screen
action that Warren made famous in Authority is present here. Whilce
Portacio's art is much darker, both in color and in styl,e than
Hitch and Neary's work, but adds to the atmosphere of the book.
isn't your mother's X-force.
takes X-Force to a whole new level while, ironically, returning
X-force to it's original "strike-force" roots. The story and art
are both quite strong, and reads well. The characters have more
dimension - having less of them around helps - and the seedier story
elements lend well to the overall plot.
is a well-constructed, readable story of a group of heroes "[fighting]
for the very survival of their species in a world that despises
and fears them." As Warren would say:
A.B. Schwartz is a Staff Writer at PopImage.
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