As X-Force rescues a transport-train full of mutant-civilians from a genocidal fate, the evil Comandant Constantin reveals that he has betrayed the person who supplied his country with future-guns and teamed up with Ahab in order to hunt mutants to extinction.
The second issue of X-Force is as strong as the first. It’s building one hell of a fun story, and the writing is exceptionally tight. Brisson has an excellent feel for these characters and he knows how to best display those nuances, even during a violent fight. Cannonball retained his conscience and his sense of compromise when dealing with Warpath, Shatterstar revealed his impulsive temper, and Domino kept her head in battle (as is her wont) while still remaining focused on helping as many people as possible.
Comandant Constantin’s motivations and prejudices are believable (even if his characterization does smack strongly of General Stryker in X2) and his belief that mutations spread like a disease was nicely reminiscent of the propaganda spread by fundamentalists in the US, who feel that homosexuality is contagious. But Constantin is not a cardboard villain. He has not killed his mutant son. He called out the emissary from the future (yet another version of Cable? The captured soldier indicated that he was) for expecting him to speak English in his own country. He’s portrayed as a real person, but one who still very much deserves our hatred, which is nice. It adds to the flavor of the book.
It was also interesting that Ahab, the mutant-hunter, corrected his captor on the science of mutation. He’s fine with obliterating the species but, please, let him be accurate about it.
Speaking of Ahab and his hounds, I criticized the last issue for lacking female team members, but the appearance of the mutant-hunter indicates that Rachel Grey might soon be joining the cast. If so, her presence would begin to provide much-needed balance to the team. She works better when she operates within a darker story and her now extremely-complicated relationship with Nathan would be interesting, in terms of furthering the plot. As an added bonus, Brisson might be able to undo some of the damage Guggenheim did to the character in his lackluster run of X-Men: Gold. All of this is speculative, of course, but all of the plot-elements are there, so I’m hopeful.
Now, onto the art. I’ve heard a lot of people criticizing Dylan Burnett’s work because it is less ‘beautiful’ than the art in other X-Books. As I said in my review of Age of X-Man Alpha, the art there is meant to be so forcefully cheerful (so carefully superficial) as to become deeply ominous. It succeeds at that, brilliantly. Burnett is going in the opposite direction, but his work has a similar genius. His panels are laden with details (check out the backgrounds of his fight scenes) and the characters’ faces are so dedicated to depicting their inner-personalities and quirks that they often verge on the grotesque. All of this is intentional. This is a dark book. As well as cyborgs and exploding future-battles, there are difficult, complex themes which deserve something better than pretty-pretty easy art. Personally, I believe that the X-Books are currently undergoing something of a Renaissance. It started with Tom Taylor’s absolutely magnificent run on X-Men: Red and its continuing in every vein, from AoX to X-Force. The art is a major part of it. Burnett’s line work so totally matches Brisson’s narrative tone that it serves to elevate an already fun book onto another level entirely.
Jesus Aburtov’s coloring and Cory Petit’s lettering contribute to this in a major way. Aburtov’s colors balance a largely cool palate with startling shots of fire and blood while Petit’s lettering lends drama and emphasis to all the right places, propelling the story without interrupting the art.
In short, I think that something very special is happening with this book. I cannot wait to see how it continues.
-Reviewed by Bethany W Pope
This new iteration of X-Force combines tight plotting, cutting dialogue, and an intriguing mystery with exceptional art. Taken together, these elements build to a fun, engaging, and thematically-dark story. There's a renaissance happening in the X-Books right now. This is part of it. - Review by Bethany W Pope
X-Force #2: Boom! Crunch!
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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