Hi, folks…your friendly neighborhood Brian Knippenberg back again! I had so much fun reviewing the recent Uncanny X-Men, that they were crazy enough to let me do it again with X-Force! Without further ado…
We’ll be breaking this review down into a recap and then sum up with my thoughts. If you wish to avoid spoilers, then proceed to ‘Thoughts From A Human’s Point of View’.
FINDING NE…EN SABAH NUR: The issue begins with Bishop landing at a certain point in future time. Bishop thinks to himself how everything that he was “forced” to do, by creating a dead-end future, was having the desired effect of eliminating all of the places that Cable could hide. He hadn’t considered finding other troublesome characters in this future, but follows a lead which brings him to a cave and a technologically-entombed Apocalypse. If it were any other time, he’d put a bullet in his head, but rather thinks that bringing about the end of the world could be used to his benefit.
…AND IT TURNED INTO A BALLROOM BLITZ: At a later point in time, the members of X-Force, Cable, Hope, and a really-old Deadpool are under attack by a legion of Stryfe’s armored warriors! Wolverine orders the Vanisher to take off with Elixer and Hope to safety, much to the anger and dismay of Cable who believes that the team’s presence is making things worse by turning them into a bigger target.
AND NOW, A WORD FROM OUR FUTURE RULER: At the Celestial City, Stryfe receives word from an underling that “The Forsaken One” (Cable) is with the others. An impatient Bishop nearly blows it by demanding to know who else is with him, to a curious Stryfe. Bishop is relieved to know that his Psi-Shields did not give away the existence of Hope. Stryfe senses that some of the X-Men are with Cable.
DIE, ZOMBIE, DIE: With Vanisher, Elixer, and Hope on the run, X-Force barely holding their own, and Wolverine getting seriously injured, Archangel receives a familiar call that only he can hear and flies off when they need them most. Cable saves Wolverine, only to demand that Hope be brought back. Domino screams at Deadpool to stop shooting the same corpse over and over (well, in case he’s a zombie) and help. An annoyed Deadpool pulls out his guns and shoots every warrior dead within moments, only to go back to killing his “zombie”. Cable is reunited with Hope and is angry with the team. He tells them that they need to keep moving.
APOCALYPSE…NOW?: We flashback to when Bishop meets Stryfe in a bar and asks for his help in eliminating Cable. He sweetens the deal by offering to bring him to a point in future-time where he had found Apocalypse and is at his weakest. In one page, we bear witness to Bishop and Stryfe destroying the evil one.
YOU’RE THE WORST LEADER EVER: Wolverine expresses to an incredulous Warpath about how screwed they are and puts him in charge of protecting Hope, even over Cable, no matter the cost. Hope inquires with X-23 as to their purpose and is relieved to hear that they are there to stop the bad man who is after them. Vanisher pleads with Elixer to take the tumor out of his head that he put in and a suspicious Domino forces Deadpool to reveal what he had been hiding from them…the fact that Stryfe was on his way to kill them all.
A LITTLE BIT OF STRYFE: Stryfe lands with a telekinetic boom, scattering our heroes. He is appalled by how much Cable is but a pale shadow of his former self. Wolverine warns him that violence can be avoided, that he had heard that the villain last went out like a hero, but Stryfe has no idea what he is talking about. A brief battle ensues as the team is quickly taken down and Cable launches his own attack. He gets in close enough to plant an explosive but it fails.
HOPE…TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE: Warpath tries to escape with Hope, but both are seized by Stryfe’s power.
WIPE YOUR BOOTS AT THE FOOT OF THE CAVE: Death finds the source of the call in the Adirondacks. Apocalypse, barely clinging to life, welcomes his last and greatest Horseman.
THOUGHTS FROM A HUMAN’S POINT OF VIEW: Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, and Clayton Crain do their very best to give us an issue where all hell breaks loose, never giving our heroes the breathing room they need. X-Force is sent to the future to rescue Cable & Hope from one threat, only to have it quickly become nearly a triple threat in a matter of one issue.
What I think I find most interesting about this book is that the starring team is, essentially, a mess. Yes, they are all very good at what they do but they are led by a reluctant leader who fought so long and hard to prevent teammates past from going down the same road of carnage and mayhem as he’s travelled. Then you have members that are part of this team because they feel they have no other purpose in life (threatening to eliminate their humanity) or were brought into this bloody world by circumstance, unsure of how to escape it. They are thrown into situations with overwhelming odds and it seems as if they can barely keep it together, that they fight on instinct just to stay ahead. You almost feel that everything will spiral out of control at any moment.
They are chaos personified. And Cable knows it as he feels that they are destroying what little control he had left in keeping Hope alive. I also find Bishop fascinating because he honestly believes that what he is doing is so right, that he is willing to unleash hell to prevent hell. What this will mean for everyone involved should be very interesting to see.
Oh, and old and even-crazier Deadpool’s a hoot!
Feel free to let me know how this review strikes you…Do you like the recap? Is it unnecessary? Share your opinion (or your own review), but please be kind, otherwise you might find me spending my remaining days in a broken down hotel room with an alcoholic mule in clown make-up…