PAST FEARS, PART 4: Are you ready for a trip back to the early 90’s? To Liefeld’s X-Force? Hop in Nadler and Thompson’s time machine and revisit your childhood with the X-Force that helped to shape comics for decades to come!
Authors: Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson
Artists: German Peralta
Colors: Jesus Aburtov
Letters: Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
What You Need to Know:
When Cable was a child, he accidentally created a monster: Metus, a techno-organic creature. As we find out, Cable has encountered Metus several times, even though we’ve never been privy to it until now. He’s encountered it with Hope in the far future and with X-Man in the recent past, both times barely escaping with his life.
What You’ll Find Out:
In the past (right after X-Force #2 so not the distant past but considering I was around 13 it sure feels distant), Cable is putting together his own version of the Danger Room. His X-Force runs through one training scenario, having to deal with it twice after failing the first attempt. But then a seemingly third scenario starts up with Warlock towering over them.
Cannonball and Boom-Boom are especially disgusted by this new threat from their leader. But Cable is unable to shut down before Warlock attacks. Whatever Warlock is, he’s not there as part of Cable’s training. But when Cable finally enters the room, shooting the Warlock creature, it’s revealed to be Metus. The battle continues until finally Metus leaves of his own accord, leaving X-Force bloody and bruised and the team trusting Cable even less than it already did.
What Just Happened?
Remember the 90’s? I mean the good part of the 90’s before the constant mega cross-overs with little to no development?
This really does take me back. The first few pages give some backstory to the conflict between Cable and Metus but immediately after that, we’re treated to Cable using his TK to operate tools while talking to Domino, exactly as he’d done in X-Force #1. It was so surreal to see, to be reminded of a book that, while I do still own, I haven’t read in many years. And it shows just how much a fan of these old books Nadler and Thompson are.
It’s even hard for me to really criticize anything in this book. It was fun seeing the original X-Force back together, with many of the same dynamics they had 27 years ago. Shatterstar is a warrior so full of himself it’s not even funny (well, it’s a little funny). Feral isn’t really taking anything seriously (nor, for that matter, is Boom Boom). Domino acts like the trainer in the field, trying to lead them. It really does almost feel like the 1991 X-Force book.
I say “almost” because some of the characterizations seem…off. Cannonball refers to Cable as “hard ass” and “sarge”. At this point in his character, Cannonball was still very much that Kentucky boy who had almost a reverence for his superiors. “Sarge” was something more akin to how Boom-Boom might refer to Cable (and even at that, it would have been done with sarcasm). And for Warpath to say “such meaningless violence”? In the early 90’s, Warpath was pretty well consumed by anger. This makes him sound like a pacifist (and honestly, of all the X-Men history, I only imagine Xorn saying something like this).
Deadpool’s arrival and his subsequent fourth wall break had me laughing out loud, despite how much I actually detest him in mainstream comics. And Warlock’s “arrival” really tugged at the heartstrings. To see Cannonball and Boom-Boom have to fight their selffriend…that was hard. Sure, it wasn’t the real Warlock, but Cannonball and Boom-Boom didn’t know that.
So was it a perfect issue? No, but honestly, it’s close. We get some very real emotion from Cable (some of the facial expressions delivered by Peralta are absolutely amazing). If you’re a fan of the early 90’s, grew up on the New Mutants and the subsequent X-Force, you’ll love it, despite the small problems. It really is a great trip to the past…to my childhood.
Final Thoughts: Nadler and Thompson toss us in a time machine, taking us back to 1991 and, for many of us, our childhood, revisiting one of the teams that made the 90’s so memorable. It’s a fun book, with tons of nostalgia, and a great chapter in this arc. I’ll definitely be sad to see them go!
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