For some of my trades, I wait and grab them on the cheap at comic conventions. I'm obviously really behind on X-Force, but wow, this was entertaining. It's odd, this has forced drug use, Angel getting mutilated, and the X-Men gratuitously killing their foes, but man if I wasn't riveted from cover to cover. Chris Yost not only cooked up the Purifiers as good villains on their own, but he also uses some good Marvel history to bring back the worst of the X-Men's past villains too.
The team is barely a team in these first six issues. Wolverine, Warpath, and X-23 are running around killing while trying to maintain their humanity. I was shocked that Elixir (I guess from New X-Men) and Angel are so involved though. And Angel...well, he's going to be a bit more complicated now. Wolfesbane also plays a very important role, but I'm not certain it is one she can come back from. Can she ever go back to the New Mutants now?
This trade has a ton of stuff that doesn't pay off for awhile. Many future storylines are hinted at or shown here, clearly I need to catch up on X-Force before I catch up on the core X-Men titles.
I'm not a huge Clayton Crain fan. His images always look computer generated, and while it works sometimes (like on Archangel and Bastion) it doesn't look so good on the more fleshy characters like Wolverine or X-23. His Wolfesbane is WEIRD, looking almost slippery rather than furred. The panels are so dark that sometimes I have a hard time figuring out what is happening. His stuff is moody and works great with the blood spattering, but the figure works is just too dark. With a clearer artist, this might have made "Excellent."