04th Nov2020

Wolverine Wednesday #38

by Ian Wells

I made the decision to review both issues of Wolverine that tie into X of Swords as one post, and as we are now going into a second lockdown I’m not sure how my LCS will be operating. So this week I will be catching up and giving a review of X-Force having recently picked up the first trade paperback. As this trade collects the first six issues, which are nearly a year old there will be spoilers…

Writer: Benjamin Percy | Artist: Joshua Cassara & Stephen Segovia | Colours: Dean White and Rachelle Rosenberg | Letters: Joe Caramagna

Right off the bat I have to say I don’t understand the appeal of the X-Men’s new status quo. Don’t get me wrong within the world of mutants all living in harmony on Krakoa there is plenty of story lines to explore. I mean what is at stake really though? How many times in X-Men comics has Jean Grey died only to come back? Well with the ‘Ressurrection Machine’ being such a major plot point to this new status quo it kind of makes a mockery of death in comics. Benjamin Percy does his best to add some consequences to the death of Xavier in the first issue. At the end of the day I think the secondary titles will find their footing going into the second and third years. Perhaps after X of Swords when they can breath a little and maybe even exist with the new status quo as minimal to plot. The make up of the team is a strong selection. But don’t expect the team on the cover to be fully active in all six issues from cover to cover.

I really like how the team comes together very organically. I think at this point it would be easier to do a little roll call. First we have Jean Grey who seems to be defacto leader of this  new X-Force. Beast is possibly her second in cmmand and he is operating in more grey areas than ever before. Wolverine is filling the role you eould pretty much expect him to be in. Domino is another field agent and I always love her in a story. Sage who seems to have an interesting back story, but admittedly I don’t know mucha bout her. Black Tom who I thought I knew something about but this story but that theory to bed. Quentin Quire I feel is only here to rub Wolverine and Wolverine fans up the wrong way. Lastly we have Colossus who appears on one page! I think as the series progresses the team membership will remain very fluid, with members rotating in and outi depending on the mission. Of course with Krakoa being central to everything in these six issues we also get healthy does of Magneto, Xavier and Forge. I had read previously in articles and reviews that this incarnation of X-Force was like the mutant CIA. This actually turned out to be a major plot point rather than just a throw away line in a solicitation or review. There is a moment in the story where The Quiet Council are discussing the pros and cons of  a mutant CIA.

I love how they actually refer to the team as X-Force too. When these team names originated the teams within the stories refered to themselves by these names. For a long, long time they just became titles of comics. So to actually have the team referred to by name was just a fun moment. All of this happens in the third issue, alot has happened up to the team formally being formed. It’s not really world building as more like world fleshing out. After all Hickman is ‘Head of X’ so it makes you wonder how much freedom Percy has within X-Force. I imagine it to be fairly free just with the occasional prod to hit certain points.

We get the creation of the Cerebro Sword early on and the second issue is titled ‘The Sword of Damocles’ all signs that the ground work for X of Swords has been in motion since the get go and across all the books. I have to confess I actually went back and read all the text pages after finishing the story. I can see how they can be of use in a team book like this. the flesh out the fact that Xavier had Domino chasing down leads before the story began and they allowed me to catch up on what everything I missed about Black Tom. There are instances when they are adding depth to the story which I felt could have actually just been with in the story itself. What they are not doing is providing any back ground on other X-books. I originally had an interest in picking up this story arc to see if it had any connective tissue with Wolverine as they are both penned by Percy. I can report that is not the case, so my suspicion is to carry on not reading the text passges within the Wolverine solo series.

Speaking of Wolverine I reall enjoyed his interaction with Quentin Quire. He is a character I have never really connected with before. I suppose for a generation he is thier Wolverine with him being a break out star from Morrison’s run. I think because in the past readers have been used to seeing Wolverine mentor younger female characters it makes for a nice change of pace for him to butt heads with a younger male. For me the art work makes this an appealing read. Particuarly in the first five issues by Joshua Cassara. The interiors are a far better fit for the story than Dustin Weaver’s overly polished covers. The art mixed with the colours give the story a gritty lived in feel. For my own taste the final issue fulls a little flat with Stephen Segovia being a bit more tidy and cleaner compared to Cassara. Without doubt the stand out star of the series is Dean White on colour duties. funnily enough my first exposure to White was in Uncanny X-Force. My knowledge of colourist isn’t wide ranging. As I was reading that series I started following him on Twitter and then saw the respect his work garnered. He is a master of the field. He knows when to go bright and bold and when to tone it down to the muted tones. Within thse six issues there are plenty of settings to play with and go wild.

For me Cassara and White in tandem make a return for the second trade paperback more likely. Together they can tackle high octane action sequences and the talking head pages with equal grandeur. The island setting of Krakoa just gives licence for both creators to express themselves and they don’t dissapoint. Jean Grey just pops on every page shes on. Wolverine looks his best brooding, moody self in his brown and tan costume and the violence is just the right side of OTT bloody! The first four issues move at a good pace. Mixing great action with more cerebral moments like having a need for a mutant CIA. The only draw back for me and again this is somethng linked to the new status quo. With all the mutants living in harmony on Krakoa who are X-Forces foes going to be? Percy sets up a good premise for a batch of scientifically modified humans who have issues with Krakoa, but how long can this last?

Within the last two issues a new threat comes to the fore based around the Krakoan organic tech. Again how many times can this well be revisited? When is there going to be a call for X-Force to be fighting mutants or more classic foes? In conclusion an decent enough start to a series. Perhaps for my own personal taste the final two issues fell a little flat. As I said, the art would get me back for more. As would the fact there is very little connectivity with other X-books.

I don’t need to be reading this and Wolverine but at the momment both are equally good. What might drive me away in the long run is my blood lust for mutants fighting mutants.


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