X-Force needs to deal with a dangerous infection spawned from Krakoa itself. It means going far below into the deep cold dark of the ocean...will the team be able to contain what they discover or will they be overwhelmed by the terror that awaits them?
Benjamin picks up the thread of the story almost immediately following the ending of issue 15 with Beast and Cecilia Reyes conducting an autopsy of one of the infected bodies. It’s great to see Reyes feature more prominently in an issue and even better to see her put Beast in his place as she sees the wheels turning in his head as they come to realize this threat is an infection spawned by Krakoa itself (which of course Hank wants to weaponize) Domino and Black Tom are cleaning up the beach while Forge, Quire, and Wolverine are sent to do a clean up of the infection in the ocean.
The best character moments in the issue come from the conversation mentioned above and then Quire and Phoebe have an excellent moment before they head into the deep which is based on the solicits for the next issue is a relationship that will be explored next. Percy leans heavily into the old soldier bravado with most of Forge and Wolverine’s dialogue throughout the issue before he plunges us into the cold dark deep and action as the three come face to face with the creatures of the deep infected by this “tumour”, again although Wolverine takes point, the best dialogue comes from Quire for me in this as Percy shows Quentin is very clearly tired of getting killed so much and means to stay alive and not die. However, things look desperate and the three are about to be overwhelmed when low and behold but who should appear to save their mutant bacon but the King of Abslantis himself: Namor who helps resolve the issue of the living infection in dramatic fashion but not before Percy reminds us through the dialogue that Namor has no time for Krakoa’s nonsense and that snarky, arrogant Namor is the best Namor. I have to question though how easily the threat gets literally “buried” versus them solving the mystery of it which they don’t and that leaves me with a very uneasy feeling for the future…because it can happen again.
The art is simply brilliant from Cassara who leans into the monsters of the deep vibe with all the atmosphere of the best underwater horror mystery movies I’ve watched like the Abyss like a panel of the dead seamen with the crab in his mouth is an excellent example of that. I can’t be the only one that thinks he would be absolutely brilliant on something like a TOMB OF DRACULA reboot or another horror IP. He plays cleverly with perspective making several page layouts where the characters are small to convey the vastness of the deep and the main splash in this issue featuring Wolverine as comes face to face with something form the abyss is glorious
Deep blacks, horrifically mutated sea creatures and darkness are the order of the day and Guru-eFX leans into that darkness with deep shades of blue punctuated by flashes of color in the underwater scenes which really sells the underwater parts of the book. His Namor is fantastic, somber, arrogant, and dark in look. Lettering from Caramagna again is always perfectly placed as to not detract from the image even in the narrower paneling.
This issue is a fun undersea romp that captures the atmosphere of a "terror from the deep" themed storyline perfectly through brilliantly drawn and colored art while making sure to pay attention to character voice and dialogue accuracy through the writing. X-Force continues to be a consistently well written and illustrated comic that knows exactly what it is and has fun doing it.
X-FORCE #16: Darling There’s Terror Down Where It’s Wetter, Take It From Me
Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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