Wednesday, September 5, 2007


So I've been reading X-Force for the last couple of weeks (I think I'm currently on issue #50) and after reading the entire New Mutants run and I've gotta say, it's one of the most scattered books I've ever read.

A little back story: Rob Liefeld took over penciling duties for The New Mutants starting with issue #86. After a few issues he was able to gain creative control and through the introduction of a few key characters (Cable, Domino, Deadpool) and then he was able to convince the decision makers at Marvel to relaunch the New Mutants title as X-Force. Under the leadership of Cable, X-Force was meant to be a more militant version of the New Mutants, and as an extent, Charles Xavier and his X-Men. They were transformed into a strike-force and would take on missions deemed to be too "dirty" or "messy" by the X-Men and the government sponsored X-Factor.

To me, it seemed like the book lacked a constant theme or storyline. Some of that could be attributed towards the amount of cross-overs that X-Force was involved in, it really felt like the in-between issues were just filler for the next monumental mutant event. There was a story arc with the MLF (Mutant Liberation Front) that kind of died out and then there was an interesting story arc involving the Externals where it's revealed that Sam (Cannonball) is immortal. Both of these stories are dropped at some point and not really resolved, only to be revisited a few months later, after the summer crossovers are done with. And at one point, in an attempt to provide more bakstory on Shatterstar, they made him face Arcade in a two-part story. God, I hate Arcade.

It seems like every time there was a slump in sales, or when they felt like the book was becoming stale, they simply changed their base of operations, or their costumes, or their names. It was kind of like they were trying to distract the readers by showing them something shiny. And I guess this was a pretty popular book, I was winding down my collecting when this explosion was going on, so I kind of missed this train. The one thing that that was also kind of annoying was that the three Liefeld characters were very similar to each other. Cable, Domino, and Shatterstar were all mysterious characters, and they all had powers that were never really explained. I had to look up what Domino's power was (probability) because I had no idea even after I was about forty-five issues into the series.

The series was heavily criticized for it's violent content and it's overuse of firearms. For an example, see the picture to the right. I mean, there's just no way Cable can use all of that ammo and all of those guns. Ridiculous. Even though I swear they never really didn't do any damage with any of their guns. It was almost as bad as the A-Team. Cable and Domino would fire away endlessly and they would either miss, or whoever they hit would be powerful enough to absorb the shots without a problem. Also, I don't think they shot bullets, they were plasma guns, which I guess are better, but to be honest, I really don't know if they are or not.

The other thing that annoys me, and Chris brought this up a couple of days ago, is the insane amount of pouches all of the character have, when they never even use them. Why does Cannonball need a belt with 29 pouches? He can fly and is invulnerable, what does he need that's in those pouches? They never once reach into a pouch and get something. I mean...c'mon.


chris said...

I forget when I stopped collecing XF but I had a good run going. The guns, pouches and meandering story definitely killed it.

The book did have some good artists, though. Greg Capullo was good, even thought he got WAY better when took on Spawn. And I always thought Adam Pollina was just amazing. Fabian Nicieza is one of my favorite comic writers ever, too.

chris said...

Another thing that bugged me about Liefeld's run was the backgrounds. It was either random crosshatching, square blocks of color or dust clouds. The cover of issue one has 2 out of 3.

Oh, Tony Daniels was another artist I really liked on that book. And did I mention that Adam Pollina ruled?

Tyler said...

Right around #48, someone took over and had a very weird style. You can tell there was a new team from the cover. I'll try and look it up and scan some stuff in tonight. They also radically changed Cable too, later on he is really skinny and that was also a drastic change, one issue he's normal, the next issue he's super skinny and looks very young. Same thing with Warpath. He drastically changes throughout the life of the book. One issue he's like 7'6", 400 lbs., and in the next one he looks like a normal dude. I think I'm on #54 or so right now and they definitely changed styles again and were trying to make the book have a more youthful look. Like I said, this is probably one of the most scattered books I've ever read, they seemed to change creative teams a lot to try and revamp the series.

Jason said...

"To me, it seemed like the book lacked a constant theme or storyline." Oh, and don't forget artwork by a penciller who possesses at least SOME idea of anatomical proportion. I'm looking at that first cover and I'm shocked (SHOCKED!) at the size of Cable's leg. And just how many muscles does the human (or super-human) arm have? I guarantee not half as many as Liefeld drew. WTF?

Personally, I think Cable was juicing during this period. Congress should step in and investigate the prevelance of superhero perfromance enhancer drugs. I mean, the children...what about the children?