It was shocking enough that Jonathan Hickman reset the X-Men and changed them forever. Then the Dawn of X line of books killed off Xavier without notice. This has been bold storytelling, and that goes for X-Force as well, with a killer first issue that offed Professor X on its last page. Time to find out how revenge is looking for Wolverine and others in this second issue.
This issue opens with Magneto very angry and upset over Xavier’s demise. It’s a strong opening since it confirms our worst fears. Soon the mutants are reacting in kind with plans and missions to enact justice and save Krakoa now that it’s on the verge of collapse. If their enemies find out what has happened, a real war could take place.
This issue does a great job showing the intel and operations sides of the X-Force. Dubbed the CIA of Krakoa, you see that first hand with Jean Grey serving as intel and Wolverine taking on the covert ops side of things. You see a clear CIA angle with the data pages which give us a key report involving a certain mutant and other intel. Some of the information in these pages is info we’d normally see in a flashback, and it serves as a nice and hefty reveal to cut to the chase. That leaves more time for Wolverine and Quentin to interact as well as watch how the Krakoan morgue works.
I have a feeling fans who might have been sour around the first issue are going to love this. It cuts between Wolverine and the morgue scene well to show how X-Force isn’t just about fighting but gathering information and eventually using it. Benjamin Percy does a great job writing Wolverine and Quentin, who both have their versions of an attitude problem on point. I also love the layering of Wolverine and Quentin’s points of view on humanity. A real problem is clearly defining characters as some might think mutants should dominate humanity while others see humans as a sort of equal — or, as Wolverine puts it, “We’re all just a bunch of complicated animals fighting for control of the same forest.”
The art by Joshua Cassara is fabulous and possibly even better than the first issue. There are more interesting environments to explore in this chapter and seedy lairs too. The morgue is creepy in its design with subtle hints at the color of Krakoa, yet it’s murky and almost slimy in nature. Wolverine is electric in this issue too, with a great sequence focusing on his claws going in and out. He’s got pent up anger he needs to let loose, which builds towards the mission well. Color artist Dean White is also doing great work peppering the morgue with blood and other bits of color while a sickly blue/green permeates the area. Quentin and his powers are bright and positive, giving him a spark that’s juxtaposed against Wolverine’s flat emotions well.
I can’t say enough how well X-Force is working. The mix of intelligence gathering and fighting gives the book a good balance. The character work is great too and fans of Wolverine will decree he’s back and better than ever.
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