With two members of the X-Force team down, it's up to Domino to pick up the pieces and deal with the mercenary problem but will her anger at what was done to her recently prevent her from assisting Beast's intelligence unit and could she end up breaking a major law of Krakoa?
X-Force books are known for their violence. This isn’t a secret. It’s in the title X -F O R C E and if that’s all that this book was it would be nothing more than a middling exercise in body horror shock value with no soul. Thanks to Benjamin Percy though this book is so much more and here is why…
Don’t get me wrong, there is violence but it isn’t without purpose. The shock value is there but Percy balances the action aspect with intelligence-gathering but at the same time advances our knowledge of Krakoa and peppers the story with genuine emotion and humor.
Firstly, Domino. Neena is trained to hit hard, hit fast, and if something hurts you, hurt it back twice as bad. Her anger in this issue as she seeks revenge for both the hurt visited on her previously and her fallen comrades is palpable and it boils off the page as she mercilessly goes after the enemy (her pain and trauma from being tortured manifests in brutal anger). She is aided in this by Forge, freshly equipped in the best biotech Krakoa has to offer as the two of them thwart the potential loss of Krakoan resources. Forge provides both the action back up to the wrath filled Domino, but Percy also uses Forge to balance the horror of what’s on the page with some genuinely inappropriate humor (at a very badly injured Logan’s expense) in the heat of battle and its those humanizing touches that really make this a such a satisfying read.
We get a deeper look into the psychology and physiology of Black Tom and his relationship with the island, which is fascinatingly laid out in a data page detailing his connection to Krakoa and the effects it’s having on him as well as his potential as an offensive or defensive force. Heady stuff, but once again Percy hits the right beats and Black Tom’s interaction with Gateway (yes, he’s a featured character in this issue and pretty badass to boot) while serious is balanced with some humor.
Then there’s the intelligence part. Hank is pulling the strings on this one and the push-pull between him and the field operatives is exceptionally well-written especially as he talks the revenge-bent Domino down from completely wiping out the enemy because in order to get to the bottom of things they need intelligence. We get some clever humanizing of one of the captured mercenaries. We also get an interrogation scene that I won’t lie made me a little uncomfortable even though I understand it’s purpose. The interrogation thanks to Jean Grey yields the intelligence the team requires they now know about the faceless man with the peacock tattoo and also a revelation that mutants new status on top of the food chain so to speak has painted more targets on them…
Percy also includes a soft moment between Domino and Logan (both on the mend from the horrors of the previous days) with a moment that is a commentary on the trauma that field operatives face because bodies heal a lot quicker than the mental wounds that combat inflicts.
Joshua Cassara’s art is once again exceptional. Unique, bold and exquisitely detailed from the body horror and violent moment with Wolverine (pro tip: even half a Wolverine is dangerous…) to Black Tom manifesting himself as part of the Krakoan vegetation and pulling Gateway into the fray to the anger on Domino’s face is all done gloriously gritty detail making every page a visual treat. I also really thought the paneling helped with communicating the pacing this issue.
Again two colorists on this issue in White and Rosenberg who work so well that I can honestly not tell you where one ends and the other begins. The colors in this book are such an intricate part of the atmosphere of this series that compliment the content perfectly and I appreciate the effort to keep that uniform throughout the issue. Lettering is solid from Caramagna and Dustin Weavers cover is eye-poppingly detailed and a contender for one of the best covers featuring Forge ever.
The creative team on this book continues to find the perfect balance of action, emotion, and humor that have characterized this series so far making it a reader favorite and X-Force issue five is no exception. Highly, highly recommended!
X-Force #5: Broken Pieces Can Still Cut You…
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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