Sunday, January 4, 2015

12 Days of X-Mas: X-Force #82

In the continuing saga of great artists, this issue of X-Force features future superstar Jimmy Cheung. This is a pretty neat glimpse at his early work because unlike some of the other artists we’ve seen so far, Cheung already has his style pretty well established. He’s not perfect, things can look a bit too cartoony, but man, he’s already quite good.

John Francis Moore has the team setting up shop in San Francisco with a pretty reduced lineup. Dani Moonstar, Siryn, Warpath, Meltdown (formerly Boom Boom), and Sunspot make up the team at the start of the issue. I had totally forgotten that Sunspot and Boomer were dating. The pairing is no odder than the one with Cannonball, although dating two best friends is always an interesting choice for new drama.

Another forgotten (to me) character makes his debut in this issue. Jesse Aaronson (later known as Bedlam) shows up asking the team to help out their former mentor Domino. (Both Bedlam and Domino will end up filling out this era’s roster by the close of the issue.) This all sets up with a new villain called the Gryphon along with a strange new Marvel science-villain organization. Thanks to some sharp character design from Cheung, even the low-level guards and flunkies are pretty interesting and unique looking. I’m not sure I buy the threat-level they pose to the team, but the look pretty good in their slimmed down, Mandroid-ish armor. (In a great twist, there is no psyche-shielding on the power suits, so Moonstar just drops each of them with one hit.)

I’m not a huge fan of the “team uniform” look, because it takes away so much of the visual flair of super-hero comics. Sunspot can make out just fine in a uniform, but Warpath and Siryn lose so much of their unique palette and contrast on each page.

This is another FAIR issue of X-Force. This is something of a trend at this point. Moore does a nice job giving each character a voice (and making Siryn an effective leader) but there is nothing ground-breaking here. That will have to wait for tomorrow’s issue. 

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