Before X of Swords kicked off, X-Force ended on an interesting note, with Beast taking a deep dive into the fascism pool and roping a reluctant Jean Grey and Wolverine into his scheme. Now that X of Swords has ended, the plot resumes as if the last few issues weren’t all event-related and using some of the same characters. So the placement of this chronologically being before the other recent issues makes it a bit jarring off the bat, but it’s easy to overlook once you get started.
X-Force #15 opens up with Jean begrudgingly interrogating Colossus, though she makes her reservations against Beast quite clear. Cassara’s art is always a treat and the longer the series goes on, the more it’s clear just how perfect his art style and Guru Efx’s coloring are for this series. It’s grungy; clean but a bit unpolished — perfect for a series with a darker tone like this.
Beast’s downfall has been a longtime coming, starting with his involvement with the Illuminati in Hickman’s Avengers and messing with the timeline in Bendis’ All-New X-Men starting around 2013. Now, he’s fallen to fascist policies, previously declaring to rule by fear and dipping his toes in very uncomfortable pools in the name of “national security.” Beast’s policies and the way he’s able to rope in important figures make it clear that despite Krakoa’s assertion that they are better than the humans, they’ve adopted many of the same terrifying policies that human countries have been criticized for. It’s an interesting angle to explore.
One of the most interesting aspects of this issue is seeing how others respond to Beast’s new rules and regulations. The Five note that this is setting a terrifying precedent, but they go along with his command begrudgingly, just like Jean. Colossus doesn’t blame Beast despite having his trust so carelessly violated. Colossus just wants to move on with his life, getting rid of the “soldier” role all together –so it makes sense that in Percy’s story he forgives Beast. As a reader, this becomes a tricky point because you want him to pay for his crimes.
The narrative payback for Beast is so minuscule that it’s clear Percy isn’t done telling this story yet — and Beast isn’t done falling. This is very much an issue to say the web is still being woven, so all real judgment on the arc as a whole will come later, though this chapter raises a fair bit of interesting points.
X-Force #15 sets a dangerous precedent for Krakoa and opens up some fascinating questions for the X-Men’s new world. Cassara’s pencils just get better and better with every issue, providing endless visual treats.
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