Wednesday, December 31, 2014

12 Days of X-Mas: X-Force #25

Wow. Raise your hand if you remember these insane hologram covers. These things seemed pretty awesome on the trading cards of the time, I’m not sure it works so well just glued on the cover of a normal comic book. It is still cool, but it certainly prevents any uniform type of look on those covers.

So this is part of the Fatal Attractions storyline, almost a crossover, but not quite. There is a “mystery” villain, but I’m going to go ahead and spoil Magneto’s involvement now (20 years later). But while Magneto is the big bad of the issue, most of the fighting is between X-Force and Magneto’s disciple Exodus.

I always like it when Magneto uses his powers in a way that makes sense. After lurking in shadows for most of the issue, when it comes down to it, Magneto and Cable finally battle it out. Now, Cable is a half-metal cyborg, so how long do you think that fight should go? Fabian Nicieza does a nice job keeping Cable’s involvement an overall “win,” but boy, that is a short fight. Cable honestly shouldn’t have much of a chance against the master of magnetism. Since Cable manages to bring most of his recruits home and save the Professor (the AI program that helped raise Cable), he can claim a win, but c’mon, Magneto whipped up on ol’ Nate.

This is one of those issues where the rich history of the X-Men really makes for some interesting interactions. When Exodus takes most of the team up to Cable’s former spaceship, the mystery antagonist might still be shadowed to the reader, but the characters have no doubt about who they are speaking with. Cannonball and Sunspot spent years with Magneto as their mentor, so when he shows up as the mastermind, they aren’t concerned. It is pretty neat seeing the way Magneto sort of backs down and flatters his former students too. The characters’ history makes the moment work.

Greg Capullo does another nice job with the art in this issue. Exodus is a bit of a challenge, though. Not only is his 90’s look ridiculous, but I have absolutely no idea what his powers are. When Exodus uses his vague powers take on the X-Force team, it just looks like big blasts of random energy. Seriously, what the heck can he do besides be ominous and menacing? (And sport a sweet mullet?)

Another thing Capullo’s art really emphasizes is how strong the team line-up is at this point. Rictor might look like another 90’s bozo, but aesthetically, his green and brown toned costume really looks good in the group. Warpath’s red and blue still takes up a lot of space on the panel, contrasting with Shatterstar’s white, Feral’s orange, and the pinks and yellows for Boom Boom. Capullo does a really nice job with the team action, and Nicieza has the personalities and power sets into an interesting and useful mix. This is a well-rounded superhero team.

This isn’t a great comic, merely GOOD, but it is an easy, fun read. The art keeps the book interesting, and frankly, using Magneto makes the book feel more important than it has so far. This is definitely on the stronger side of the X-Force books I’ve sampled so far. 

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