This issue reunites the members of X-Force (ya know. Except for the one who slept in) and sets the series off to a rollicking start — during which they accidentally set off a military coup in a rising Eastern-European country. Oops.
The relaunch of X-Force has a great deal going for it. Reader expectations and anxieties have been simmering high for the last couple of weeks and I am happy to say that the book has gotten itself off to a highly satisfactory start. This story was primarily a set up for the upcoming arc (getting the band back together, mutant-style) but it was absolutely packed with characterization and intrigue. The plot featured our guys seeking out Kid Cable and, along the way, simultaneously uncovering and facilitating a military coup by a rabid anti-mutant general (whose grudge against mutantkind is as obvious as the scar on his face) who just cannot wait to get on with the genocide.
The writing was sharp (well, duh. It’s Ed Brisson) and the pacing was nearly perfect, but I really want to talk about the art.
I really love Dylan Burnett’s style. I know that opinions are going to be divided on this subject because many readers are used to more conventionally ‘pretty’ line work in their X-Books, but this series is not supposed to be ‘pretty’. These are complex, dangerous people who are willing to do terrible things to get what they want. They function from a perspective which is considerably more brutal than the one that the X-Men usually inhabit. The art reflects that. Burnett is doing something very interesting, here, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
I did have one major problem with the book as it currently stands: the lineup. Without Tabitha, the balance is five men and one woman. Even with Tabby, this would be problematic, the implication being: there aren’t as many women who are willing to commit the level of violence required by this team. Even if Tabby had stuck around, she’s more careless than anything. She kills without really thinking about the implications. Because she’s a ditz. And that’s… pretty sexist, actually. I don’t believe that this was intentional. I do not think that the writer is a sexist. This team was initially formed during a time when certain ideas about gender were rigidly fixed — and that isn’t the case anymore. Certainly, in reality, women are human. They’re capable of as much brutality as men. God knows that Domino is a remarkably complex character; fully fleshed, with complicated motivations and Brisson is a deft enough writer to convey that complexity. But there really should be more female voices on the team.
But all in all, this was a remarkably strong start to a book which promises to hit exactly the right balance between brutality and fun.
The opening issue of this relaunch is packed with keen characterisation, sharp dialogue, and absolutely fantastic art. If you like your X-Books to be a little darker and morally murky than Red or Uncanny, this is a great series to pick up.
X-Force #1: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10
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